to Grow Terrific Tomatoes:
plants are found growing in over
90% of gardens or containers.
Nothing compares to the taste
of a warm tomato picked from the
vine, eaten before you even get
to the house with it. It is fabulous
to go out and pick baskets of
tomatoes for your own use, or
to give away to family and friends.
are easy to grow: You
need a spot where there will be
at least 6 hours of direct sun.
There are many different varieties
out there to choose from, and
you might be wondering about why
they are different, and which
one to pick from. Tomatoes are
classed as either determinate
which means they produce one large
crop of tomatoes, or indeterminate
which means the vines continue
to grow all season, producing
tomatoes up until frost. If you
are planning on canning or freezing
you probably want a determinate
variety so you will have a big
harvest at one time. Heirloom
tomato varieties are becoming
popular again, they usually have
a wonderful flavor, but are not
resistant to diseases. Hybrid
tomatoes have been bred to be
disease resistant, crack resistant,
and to produce tomatoes under
a wide variety of weather conditions.
the soil for your tomato patch
well. Turn it over, and add some
Back to Nature compost, and some
gypsum. Gypsum is very important
to prevent blossom end rot in
tomatoes. Mix in some Bradfield
organic fertilizer, which is more
of a soil conditioner than a fertilizer.
It will improve the flavor of
your tomatoes because it is putting
back trace elements long lost
from the soil.
the variety to plant: It
is always best to plant more than
one variety. Tomatoes set fruit
at different night time temperatures.
Some set at 60 degrees, some at
65degrees, and on and on. A variety
of types will also give you a
steady supply of different flavors,
and if you should get a disease
on one type you may not on the
other, so you are protecting your
crop with more varieties. The
tags on tomato plants will tell
you how many days to harvest.
You can also use that 'day to
harvest' as a way to judge the
size of tomato you will be growing.
The more days - the larger the
tomato plants 5 to 6 feet apart.
That seems like a lot, but they
will grow large, and they need
good air circulation. Grouping
them actually decreases the yield
you get. Plant around the 1st
of May. Tomato plants can not
handle cold nights. Too many cold
nights can stunt them to a point
of dying or very little fruit
setting on them. Plant tomato
plants deeper than what they are
gowing in their pots. Remove the
lower leaves and plant them up
to 1/2 of the tomato plant. All
of the stem that you have buried
will turn to root and you will
have a much stronger tomato plant
giving you more tomatoes. Use
1 teaspoon of Osmocote Time release
fertilizer in the bottom of the
hole, and you will not need to
fertilize for 3 months.
require consistent moisture
to produce an abundant crop, of
uncracked, unblemished fruit.
After tomatoes have been growing
about 3 weeks, put mulch around
the tomatoes to conserve moisture,
and keep weeds down. Water
only with a soaker hose.
NEVER WATER OVERHEAD. . .tomatoes
don't like a lot of water on their
leaves as it could lead to fungus
diseases developing and spreading.
A good deep soaking should last
from 5 to 7 days. There is no
need to water daily, unless you
are growing them in containers.
tomatoes in containers: Yes,
they can be grown in containers,
but the containers have to be
large enough. You need a really
BIG container, a 10 gallon pot
or more would be good. You will
need to fertilize and water more
often. During hot windy days it
will be every day.
pests: If you go out
and find a really large worm with
a big horn on it's head - that
is the dreaded Tomato Hornworm.
They can eat your foliage faster
than you can imagine. To check
for them (and they do blend in
really well), look for black droppings
on the leaves. The worm won't
be far away. Pick them off and
destroy them. Sometimes aphids
are a problem, but not often.
Caging, or Flopping: The
big debate. . . but because of
my fear of snakes, all my tomatoes
are staked or caged, and sometimes
a combination of both. Make sure
you get a heavy duty cage or stake.
Tomato plants grow large and heavy.
You really don't want to deal
with a cheap, thin wire tomato
cage collapsing which is loaded
with fruit. Save money somewhere
else - not on your tomato supports.
carry over 90 varieties of tomatoes.
Here is just a sampling. . .
- Indet. VFN, good flavored
large 18ozfruit. Tolerant of
- Indet. VFN, smooth, excellent
flavor 16oz fruit.
- Det. VF1 & 2NT, large
Indet. VF, long time favorite
of high yields. Tasty fruits.
- Det. VF1 & VF2, heavy
yields, good tasting. Vigorous
plants. Past type.
- Indet. VNF, lemon yellow fruit.
- Indet. VF, long time favorite,
heavy yields of great tasting
- large clusters bearing up
to 100 tomatoes on a cluster
Don't crowd tomato plants. They
get quite large, and need some
good air circulation to get a
bountiful crop. Crowding actually
reduces the number of tomatoes
that will set on.
more than one variety. They set
on at different night time temperatures,
so a mix is better.
some basil plants near tomatoes,
it will improve their flavor.