Get a Bigger, Sweeter, Earlier Crop of Tomatos





Introduction: Get a Bigger, Sweeter, Earlier Crop of Tomatos

About: I am 51 and hail from sunny Southern California but originate from back east. I am a Web Designer by trade and own a small Web Design Service and a few online stores around the net and enjoy meeting folks...

This is a simple and cheap way to produce a better harvest of any vine type frut bearing plant.

I use this method for my tomatos but it works equally well on other garden plants as well.

Step 1: Increase Your Sunshine and Get Rid of Pests

First lay down strips of aluminum foil with the shiney side up between your rows of plants and weigh them down (rocks work well) along the edges to reflect sunlight up under the plants and aid in ripening from the bottom to top.

The shine of the foil will also discourage birds from destroying your plants and give an inceased amount of sunshine on overcast days.

Step 2: Sweeten Your Tomatos

Second when tomatos begin to appear and are about 1 inch in diameter lightly sprinkle baking soda around each plant to make them sweeter. Repeat this process again when tomatoes are about half grown.

I used a lot of baking soda in his picture so it would show up but about 1/4 cup per plant is plenty.

Note: I have not used this on other plants and have no idea what effect it would have other than with tomatos.

Step 3: Reap the Early Harvest

If your plants become weighed down pick the larger, green ones and place them in a brown paper grocery or lunch bag and store at room temperature to finish ripening.

It is too early for me to pick my tomatos yet so I had to use red ones for the picture instead of green.

Step 4: UPDATE -

This tomato was grown in my garden using these instructions.

I wear a small glove and this tomato is a handful, about 10 inches around.

Just a little bigger than a baseball.



    • Backpack Challenge

      Backpack Challenge
    • BBQ Showdown Challenge

      BBQ Showdown Challenge
    • Stick It! Contest

      Stick It! Contest

    69 Discussions

    hola..from baja mexico,

    I am new to gardening here in the desert....we get plenty of sun here and its rare for us to have over cast days but i have read that baking soda is a way to sweeten the toms. I have one much do you put in the soil? i dont want to over do it.

    Gracias for any help


    are you sure it works?, the baking soda increases the ph, and it uses to be bad

    12 replies

    Can you tell me what is that tomato name, thanks. I never eat that type of tomato. But it looks so good.

    that's probably a unique variant, it came from a neighbour who spent a few decades selecting the biggest ones

    Oh my! What beauties! Those look delicious I haven't seen tomato's like that since my grandpa grew them. I don't know what type those are but I remember how good they tasted. I would love to grow the yellow kind as well but they don't fare well in my area.

    Here's my 2 cents, for what it's worth. One, aluminum is a naturally occurring element. One shouldn't eat it, but it doesn't bio degrade into the soil readily either -ever dig up a very old aluminum can? Just clean it up and recycle. My guess on the baking soda is that, being a base, it helps neutralize some of the acid in the tomato. It's common practice in my area to use Epsom Salts (home centers stock it in the garden center in season). I think it has the same effect. Thanks for the suggestion though. I'll give it a try next year.

    Norse, as the article states you lay the foil on top of the ground, you don't bury it and when you are done with it recycle the foil, it's only used for reflective purposes to help ripen the tomatoes from beneath. I have tried Epsom Salts in the past and the results aren't quite the same, the tomatos come out sweeter with baking soda.

    Right, was just using the "bury" scenario to support your process and illustrate that aluminum doesn't bio degrade readily and doesn't (in my opinion) have any negative environmental consequences. Thanks for the update on Epsom vs Soda, I'll give it a try it next year.

    LOL ok thanks, I was tired when I was trying to do replies. You might want to try doing one of each and one with nothing for comparison.

    Well I've been doing it since I was a kid on the farm and it has never failed me yet.

    I don't know the scientifics of it ampeyro. It's something my family has done since forever and it does make a difference, thats all I can tell you.

    If someone has a problem with alkaline soil, they won't want to sprinkle baking soda around their plants. It will only exacerbate the problem. But other than that really minor detail, nice Instructable!

    Thanks :), My better boy tomatoes are too early this year. I have 40s tomatoes but they did not turn red and they look like they push each other badly because their size... I picked eight biggest one to try this process today. :)

    1 reply

    Thank you so much, this coming weekend I will grab two extra foid rolls :)