Tips for Planting Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a spring and summer garden favorite! Find out how to plant them well to get a better harvest.
Wash Hands Before Touching
Tomato plants are highly susceptible to disease, so washing hands before touching tomato plants prevents the transfer of any disease-causing bacteria. Washing hands prior to gardening is vital if you’re a tobacco user.
The Tobacco Mosaic Virus (ToMV) is spread via humans or insects which have come into contact with a tobacco product, then touched any part of a tomato plant. If tomatoes develop black spots or if it’s misshapen, remove it from the plant and discard to prevent disease spread.
Feed Plants Often
Tomato plants like consistent feeding and watering. (Don’t we all?) Use a water soluble fertilizer mixed at half the recommended rate and feed them twice as often as recommended. A water soluble fertilize allows a gardener to provide a consistent source of food and water in one step. (Think Miracle-Gro if that’s what you like, but I prefer Jobe’s.)
Prevent Blossom End Rot
Blossom end rot occurs when the soil moisture is not kept constant and/or when there is a lack calcium in the garden soil. (Having your soil tested before the growing season is always a great idea. See your local cooperative extension for free soil testing kits!)
Over-watering or under-watering can result in blossom end rot. Deep, weekly watering with one-half the recommended rate of water soluble fertilize and a layer of mulch will help to keep the garden soil moisture even.
Stake and Tie
Tomato plants will be healthier and stronger if they are staked and tied in an upright position. Use a wooden or metal stake that is at least three feet long (we use 8ft stakes) and drive it securely into the soil. Use one-inch strips of soft, flexible cloth to loosely tie plants to the stakes. You want to give the plants plenty of room to grow.
Suckering and Pruning
Suckers are side shoots that develop on plants that will rob plants of energy and produce inferior tomatoes. The suckers grow in the ‘V’ formation between the main stalk and the branch. Pinch off all suckers that develop below the first blossoms.
Prune tomato plants by pinching off the top of the main stem to halt the top growth. See my tutorial here for How to Prune Tomato Plants.
With these tips you can go on to grow healthy and vibrant tomato plants!
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Published March 30th, 2018 7:17 AM
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