If unsupported, the increasing weight of filling fruit and multiple side branches forces the plant to lie on the ground.Left to its own devices, a vigorous indeterminate tomato plant can easily cover a 4-foot by 4-foot area with as many as 10 stems, each 3 to 5 feet long.A properly pruned and supported single-stem tomato plant presents all of its leaves to the sun.Most of the sugar produced is directed to the developing fruit, since the only competition is a single growing tip.If more stems are allowed to develop, some of the precious sugar production is diverted from fruit to multiple growing tips.(This is much less applicable to determinate plants, due to their shortened growing season and better-defined fruiting period.When a tomato plant lies on the ground, or when its growth is extremely dense, many of its leaves are forced into permanent shade, greatly reducing the amount of sugar they produce.A pruned and staked plant will produce larger fruit two to three weeks earlier than a prostrate one.The leaves of a pruned and supported plant dry off faster, so bacterial and fungal pathogens have less opportunity to spread.The bottom line: Upright plants have fewer problems with leaf spots and fruit rots because their leaves stay drier and free from pathogen-laden soil.As a tomato grows, side shoots, or suckers, form in the crotches, or axils, between the leaves and the main stem.When trained to one vine and left free-standing, tomato plants develop strong main stems.To encourage a strong stem, I trim all suckers and I don’t tie plants to their supports until the first flowers appear.If you do any pruning at all above the first flower cluster on determinate tomatoes, you’ll only be throwing away potential fruit.Indeterminate tomato plants continue to grow, limited only by the length of the season.Determinate tomato plants have a predetermined number of stems, leaves, and flowers hardwired into their genetic structure.Commercial growers favor this type of tomato because all the fruit can be mechanically harvested at once.The simplest is to pinch it off entirely; not surprisingly, this is called “simple pruning.” This should be done when the sucker is still small and succulent.Avoid cutting the sucker with a knife or scissors, because the resulting stump can become easily infected.When you’re dealing with large suckers, it’s better to pinch off just the tip than to cut off the whole thing close to the main stem.It helps to know that side stems started this late in the season will always be spindly and produce inferior fruit.The top foot of a tomato stem, or leader, is very succulent and easily snapped; it needs to be directed upwards, gently.I wrap a short piece of twine around the middle of the leader, cross it over on itself, and loosely tie it to the support.The resulting figure-eight tie reduces the chance the tender stem will rub against the support and get bruised.To keep the tie from slipping, I knot it underneath the point where the sling meets the stake.However, this final pruning can make all the difference between hard, green fruits, hurriedly picked before frost, which later rot in a paper bag, and ripe, home-grown tomatoes in your Thanksgiving salad.Which method of support you use and how far apart you set tomato plants depends on the number of stems you allow to grow.My ideal tomato cage is made from 5-foot-tall galvanized fencing with openings at least 4 inches square, so I can reach in and pick the fruit. .
Growing Roma Tomatoes
Their dense, meaty flesh, low moisture content, and few seeds make them ideal for sauces and pastes.The Roma tomato plant grows in a compact bush, and when tended well, can produce a massive yield.Plum Regal: a fleshy, flavorful, dark red variety of Roma tomato with immunity to blight disease.Martino’s Roma: these produce dark red, pear-shaped tomatoes with high yields and excellent blight resistance.The Roma tomato is determinate, which means it grows in a bush to a predetermined height.They require minimal staking to support the extra strain the fruits put on the vines.They grow in sprawling vines reaching up to 10 feet, thus requiring sturdy staking or caging.When growing Roma tomatoes, you can start them from seeds, or buy seedlings from your local nursery.For best results, sow the seeds about ½ deep in a moist, well-drained starting mix, at about 65℉ – 90℉.Thin out the seedling after true leaves appear, and continue growing them in the mix two inches apart.Hardening refers to the process of gradually exposing seedling to outdoor conditions.On sunny, breezy days, keep an eye on the seedlings to prevent wilting, or wind damage.If you don’t have access to material pots, you can use traditional planters with plenty of holes in the bottom.Use a loose potting mix with organic material such as perlite, vermiculite, or coco coir.Place the pots where your plants will get between 6 to 8 hours of sunlight and don’t forget to water them regularly.When selecting seedlings for transplanting, look for short, sturdy, dark green plants.Space the seedlings between 14 and 20 inches for optimal growth Firm the soil around the base and water to establish good root-soil contact.TIP: To ensure healthy transplants, plant the seedlings such that part of the stem is below the soil.Don’t start your tomatoes too early in the season, they are highly susceptible to frost.Don’t start your tomatoes too early in the season, they are highly susceptible to frost.Mulch helps reduce weed growth and also promotes moisture retention in the soil.Yellow Roma Tomato Harvest From Years Ago | Image Courtesy.If frost is predicted, bring in the unripe fruits and ripen them in paper bags at 60℉ or so.When you think of Roma tomatoes, you imagine that they are an old heirloom that came over from some village in Italy years ago.The very first USDA cultivar, which is still commonly sold, is named Roma VF for that reason.They feed on the leaves and fruits and can cause significant damage if left unchecked.It causes moldy grey spots on the leaves and fruits, which later turn brown.Late blight spreads and thrives in persistently damp conditions and can overwinter.It’s caused by a calcium deficiency in the fruit and fluctuations in soil moisture content.To maximize fruit productivity and reduce insect and disease problems, select varieties that grow well in your area.Here, you also get tips and advice from experienced gardeners to help you unlock your full green thumb potential! .
How to Grow Tomatoes in Pots
Her garden designs have been featured in the Sunset Western Garden Book of Landscaping, Sunset Western Garden Book of Easy-Care Plantings (cover), Inhabitat, and POPSUGAR.Here’s what you need to know about growing tomatoes in pots. .
Three Ways to Save Tomato Seeds
At this point I decided to use all three of the best ways I know to save tomato seeds: fermentation, simple drying, and planned burial in the garden.The shelf life of tomato seeds that are dried without first being soaked or fermented may be only one to two years, but that is sufficient time for gardeners who simply want to save seed from one year to the next.You can use the tip of a knife to pick out large tomato seeds from a mass of gel and dry them on a paper plate, or make seed discs or tapes by arranging seeds on small pieces of coffee filter, paper towel, or toilet tissue.When dry, the seed-bearing towel can be folded up and tucked into a labeled envelope for storage through winter.Volunteer tomato seedlings that spring up like weeds are sure evidence that tomato seeds can be saved right in the garden.By late summer I know where I will plant tomatoes next spring, which is always in a spot where tomatoes have not been grown for at least three years. .
How to Grow Your Own Tomatoes, Part 1: Starting Seeds Indoors
Starting seeds indoors is optional with many vegetables, but tomato seeds need a constant soil temperature of at least 60 degrees, and preferably 80 degrees, to germinate.And because they take three months or so to produce ripe fruit, most gardeners want to get the process started early.Fill the pots with potting mix to within a 1/2-inch of the top and place a pair of seeds on top of the soil in each one near the center of the pot (having two is good insurance in case one doesn’t sprout.Sprinkle water on the seeds whenever the top of the soil mix appears dry.There is an important caveat about tomato seedlings and mini-greenhouses: If you’re covering your seeds to keep them warm, you must remove the cover as soon as they start to germinate.Damping off is a big challenge with tomato seedlings in general, so try to provide good air circulation during their infancy period indoors.Varieties.There are also many all-purpose tomato varieties that have traits from each category.You will get more tomatoes overall with an indeterminate variety, but determinate varieties typically yield more fruit per square foot.Tomato Woo-Woo.Planting tomatoes according to the local date of last frost is a no-brainer.For example, the current Farmer’s Almanac says that March 24 and 25, 2015, are terrible times for planting any seeds, but recommends April 3 for tomato planting in particular. .
We rotate our tomato plants to a new location in the garden each growing season.When it comes to growing great tomatoes, supporting the crop is a big key to keeping it healthy.It not only keeps plants supported from the get go, but also prevent damage and compression to roots when attempting to put them in later.Not only is it easier for the gardener, but it keeps you from trampling the soil and roots around the tomatoes as they grow.#3 Plant Deep In The Soil.Tomatoes need to be planted deep in the soil.Planting tomatoes deep in the soil helps plants develop additional roots to absorb more nutrients and moisture.Roots that are vital in helping find nutrients and water for the plant as it grows.It makes wide, deep holes quickly, and with little bending!As we plant each tomato, we put a huge energy boost into each hole.And as we plant, we fill the hole back in with a mix of soil, compost, a few crushed egg shells, a couple teaspoons of coffee grounds, and a quarter cup of worm castings.The compost, coffee grounds and worm castings provide amazing nutrients.#5 Why Mulch Helps Grow Great Tomatoes.Mulching is a huge key to success!Mulch helps to keep moisture in, and weeds out!We double-mulch our plants.Less roots below = less tomatoes up top!#7 Prune Plants As They Grow.Last but not least, prune your tomato plants as they grow.Pruning the bottom area of plants also allows for easy watering or fertilizing.Get out there this year and grow your best crop of tomatoes ever! .
Tomato Plant Disease: How to identify and control tomato diseases
Unfortunately, there are several pathogens that can cause tomato plant disease.It’s important to remember that tomato plants that are healthy and properly cared for will often show more resistance to tomato plant disease, so ensuring your tomato crop has ample moisture and healthy, fertile soil is a must.Preventing tomato plant disease.Since many tomato pathogens live in the soil, plant tomatoes in a different spot in the garden each year.Choose disease-resistant varieties when selecting which types of tomatoes to grow.Do not put diseased foliage in the compost pile.6 Common tomato plant diseases.Here’s the low-down on six of the most common tomato plant diseases with information on identifying, preventing, and managing each of them.Identify: This common tomato plant disease appears as bulls-eye-shaped brown spots on the lower leaves of a plant.Prevent: The early blight pathogen (Alternaria solani) lives in the soil and once a garden has shown signs of the early blight fungus, it’s there to stay because the organism easily overwinters in the soil, even in very cold climates.Prevent: The spores of this tomato plant disease live in the soil and can survive for many years.If you live in the northern half of the continent, do not purchase potatoes and tomatoes that were grown in the south as you may inadvertently introduce late blight spores to your garden.This is not a common pathogen, but if late blight is reported in your area, there is little you can do to prevent the disease because the spores spread so rapidly.Manage: Once late blight strikes, there is little you can do.Prevent: Remove diseased tomato plants at the end of the season to prevent the spores from overwintering in the garden.Cut off and destroy infected leaves as soon as you spot them and disinfect pruning equipment before moving from one plant to another.Initial symptoms include the wilting of just a few leaves on a plant, while the rest of the foliage appears healthy.Over time, more and more leaves wilt and turn yellow until all the leaves succumb, though the stem remains upright.Prevent: Southern bacterial wilt is soil borne and can survive for long periods in the soil on roots and plant debris.The best way to prevent this disease is to purchase and plant only locally grown plants, or grow your own plants from seed.Manage: Once verticillium wilt occurs, there’s little you can do to control the current year’s infection.Practice crop rotation: do not plant other members of the same plant family in that same planting area for at least four years after the infection.With an eye toward prevention and employing early management practices as soon as a disease is spotted, you’ll be able to grow a terrific crop of tomatoes each and every season.Do you have a favorite tomato variety you grow every year? .