Community Greens

People of all colors discussing evergreen ideas.

The Tomato Diaries

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Tomato Tips

The first thing you will want to know is whether your tomato plant is determinate or indeterminate. Determinate tomato are bushier, have fruit that typically ripens around the same time and have a shorter growing season.

Indeterminate tomatoes are vining, have fruit that ripens throughout the season and will typically grow until the first frost. Pick what’s best for you based on your reason for growing, available space (indeterminate tomatoes can climb to great heights!) and the length of your season.

Tip One

Soil has a great impact on how your tomatoes will turn out. The better you prepare the soil, the better they will grow. Consider Double Digging. Remove the top layer of soil and loosen the next layer with a garden fork. Mix compost into the top layer and return it to the top of the bed. Add compost as a top dressing before you plant. You should also side dress your tomatoes with compost near the base every few weeks.

Tip Two

Add calcium to the soil by adding egg shells. You can do this before planting. Save eggshells, let them dry, crush them and add them into the soil. After planting, sprinkle them on the ground to either side-dress existing tomato plants or bury in the soil before planting new seeds or transplants. The calcium in the eggshells provides nutrients to your plants keeping them healthy and protecting against blossom end rot. The eggshells can also help other members of the Nightshade family like peppers and eggplant.

Tip Three

You want your tomato plant to develop a strong and deep root system. To help with this, bury the transplant on its side. You will see little hairs on the plant near the soil line. All of these will develop into more roots for your plant. Add a tablespoon of Epsom salt to the bottom of the hole and cover with an inch of soil when you plant.

Tip Four

When you start to see little, tiny tomatoes sprouting, prune your plants. Prune from the bottom up, removing all the leaves below the first set of fruit. Remember most fungi, disease and pests attack the leaves and leaves near the bottom of the plant are most susceptible.

Tip Five

Prune on sunny days, during the hottest part of the day. The sun will help the plant to heal the wound faster, lessening the chance of disease and pest. Only prune your plants once a week, so they don’t get stressed.

Tip Six

Basil and tomatoes taste delicious when eaten together, but they also help each other out in the garden. Plant tomatoes next to basil, peppers, borage and marigolds for better flavor and pest protection.

Tip Seven

Feed your tomato plants weekly or bi-weekly starting as soon as they have their first set of true leaves (the leaves that look like tomato leaves; they will start forming right after the first two leaves sprout). If your tomatoes aren’t ripening, they are most likely hungry and need to be fed.

Tip Eight

Harvest the unripe tomatoes before pulling out your tomato plants at the end of the season. You can let your tomatoes ripen sitting next to a sunny window or make fried green tomatoes!

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Filed under: CGGrows, Community Green, Food, Gardening, Healthy Eating, , ,

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