2016-12-26

Dos Tips for Growing Tomatoes

#growing-fruit-tips
DOS
1.Do provide plenty of sunlight. Tomato plants need sunlight and lots of it. They need about 10 hours of direct sunlight a day during the summer (and 10-14 hours of bright diffused light a day as seedlings.)
2.Do start with healthy soil. A well amended soil is a must. I like to add a scoop of compost to every hole that I dig for any plant, and tomatoes are no exception. Soil that is full of rich compost is the secret weapon to any tomato grower and organic material is the best. There is just on chemical substitute for well good, old fashioned compost.
3.Do plant seedlings deeply. Tomato plants do best with a healthy root system. I like to choose a tall plant and pull of some of the lower leaves and plant it deeply into the hole. Roots will form along the planted stem and this will make for a very healthy plant.
4.Do know your soil type. Tomatoes like soil that will hold water but not make them too soggy. The wrong soil type an cause all sorts of problems from flower drop, blossom end rot and split fruit.
5.Do remove lower leaves. These are the first leaves to grow on your plant and they are the easiest ones to develop fungus and other problems. As they plant grows, they also get the least amount of light ans circulation so they are more vulnerable to disease. Removing them also keeps them out of reach of the water.
6.Do Water Deeply from the roots. Tomato plants love water and they like a deep watering. A soaker hose works best for tomato plants. (affiliate link) Also see my tutorial for a soda bottle drip feeder here.
7.Do stake your plants. Indeterminate tomato plants can grow to 10 feet or more and definitely need some staking. Even determinate plants will get to 3 feet. If you don’t stake, the weight of fruit may break your stems.
8.Do Mulch. While we are on the topic of watering, be sure to add mulch. Bring it to a few inches from the stem, right over a soaker hose. This conserves the water and helps to prevent soil born pathogens from getting on to the leaves.

9.Do pinch suckers. Small suckers will grow at each leaf axil. This can weaken the plant and won’t bear fruit. Pinch these out to encourage great plant growth.
10.Do rotate your crop. If you plant your tomatoes in the same spot each year, you encourage soil borne pests and diseases to take hold. Move the area where you plant to another spot in your garden every three years or so.
11.Do choose a spot with good air circulation. Making sure there is plenty of air around the plants keeps the risk of many diseases at bay.
12.Do watch out for caterpillars. Horn worm caterpillars can devastate a tomato crop. Be on the look out and remove if you find them.
13.Do plant again. If you live in a sunny growing zone, be sure to practice succession planting. Add another crop a few weeks after you plant the first one to ensure luscious tomatoes all summer long.