After all, when plants start strong and healthy, they are better equipped to fight off disease and pests.When plants start strong, they are better equipped to fight off disease, pests, and the stress of summer heat.Anything cooler, and the plants can sit stagnate in the soil, becoming vulnerable to rot, mildew and disease.Tomato plants that are transplanted in warmer soil adjust more rapidly, absorb nutrients better, and grow at a much faster rate.If you live in a cooler climate, you might even try helping to warm the soil up by laying down black plastic a week or so before you pant.As an extra note, also make sure your tomato plants are ready for Mother Nature.Slowly acclimate your tomatoes to outdoor life by giving them time in a protected area.As they adjust, give them more light and time outdoors to toughen them up for planting day.This gives tender, young plants support, and keeps them from getting damaged due to strong winds.And placing them in down the road also means unwanted foot traffic around the plant’s root area.That foot traffic compacts the soil and roots, which can hinder plant growth significantly.Tomatoes need a deep planting hole to develop strong, healthy roots.It is fast, easy on the back, and creates a wide and deep hole perfect for planting.We fill our planting holes back in with an equal mixture of compost and garden soil along with a few extra powerful organic ingredients added in.In addition to the soil and compost, we crush a few eggs shells, and add in a few tablespoons of spent coffee grounds and worm castings.The coffee grounds and worm castings are powerful fertilizers, that release their nutrients back slowly to the plants as they grow.It not only keeps out competing weeds, but provides insulation to the tomato plant’s root zone.That helps keep the soil temperature and moisture levels regulated on both cool evenings and hot days.But here is a little secret that can pay big dividends, you can also use mulch to provide a slow release of power to your plants.The nutrients slowly leach down to the roots, and give the tomato plants extra energy.the top layer of mulch insulates the soil and prevents competing weeds. .

Learn How to Grow the Best Tomatoes

Solanum lycopersicum According to the National Gardening Association, tomatoes are the most commonly grown backyard vegetable, and for good reason.Not only is a fresh-picked, homegrown tomato extraordinarily tasty, especially when compared to the supermarket variety, Solanum lycopersicum is easy to grow, and thrives almost anywhere.Easy to grow and great in salads, the tomato is a perfect starter plant for the novice.Now that we have that bit of science out of the way, let’s learn more about choosing and growing the perfect tomato for your family.Native to Central and South America, tomatoes have been cultivated since the time of the ancient Mayan civilization.At the same time, tomatoes were grown in Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello garden, from seeds obtained in Europe.Indeterminate types grow all season, and continue to bloom and produce fruit as long as weather conditions are favorable.This means you’ll have a huge harvest that’s perfect for canning, but you might not be able to enjoy caprese salads all summer long.This tender annual is sensitive to cold weather and frost, so don’t set your seedlings or nursery starts out too early.Try to plant in an area that receives early morning and late afternoon sun, and that is shaded during the hottest parts of the day.If your growing area only receives about 3 to 4 hours of sunlight per day, you can still plant cherry tomatoes.The plant will not grow to be as big as it would in a full sun location, but it will still produce a decent harvest of fruit.Tomatoes grow best in organically rich, well-draining soil, with a slightly acidic to neutral pH of 6.0-7.0.If your soil is particularly poor and you feel nutritive amendments make sense, add them at the beginning of the season, before the plant is in the ground.Choose a balanced fertilizer or one with a slightly lower ratio of nitrogen, so you don’t end up with lots of green leaves and no fruit.When planting transplants, dig a hole deep enough to bury the stem just past the first set of leaves.My rows are usually a jumble of both types, so I give them a little more room – though I might sneak a low-growing pepper plant in between, so no inch of garden goes unused.Hot Weather Can Be Too Much of a Good Thing While it might be fun to try the heirlooms that some garden stores sell, they might not do well in every region.You don’t have to purchase expensive pots – 5-gallon plastic buckets with drainage holes punched in the bottom will do just fine.Another significant aspect to caring for S. lycopersicum is the need to cage or stake plants, particularly the vining indeterminate types.Cage training allows the plant to grow in its natural manner, but keeps the fruit and leaves off the ground.Some gardeners in particularly windy areas – where cages or stakes are apt to topple over – may choose to let the vines sprawl along the ground instead.As tasty as tomatoes are to humans, they are equally delectable to a number of pests, from insects to mammals, including landlords (more on that later).There’s also anecdotal evidence that planting basil near S.

lycopersicum improves the flavor of the red orbs.Tomatoes are ready to be picked when they morph from green to a saturated version of their destination color – whether it’s red, orange, yellow, or purple.Now, if you’re from the South, you might be thinking of picking tomatoes that mature to a red color while they’re still green, for slicing, coating in cornmeal, and frying.When I lived in Lexington, Kentucky, I couldn’t figure out why my tomatoes kept disappearing from the plants out in my garden.I kept a close eye on the fruits as they developed, checking every day, excited for their color to deepen to red.I’d suggest heading off the problem in advance, talking to the landlord about what you’re planting, and offering to share the harvest later, if you bring in a bumper crop.If you want to freeze your tomatoes to use them in cooking, you can blanch them in boiling water to remove the skins – or simply cut them into quarters and place on a cookie sheet in the freezer.When they are frozen, put them into a plastic zip-top bag, pop them back in the freezer, and they’ll last for up to year.For an Italian-inspired weeknight meal, try this pepperoni chicken parmesan recipe, from our sister site, Foodal. .

How to Grow a Better Tomato

Mr. Stearns’s company, which has the largest selection of certified organic seed varieties in North America, has seen a 300 percent increase in home-garden sales since mid-March.

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Tomato Growing Secrets for Big Yields and Healthy Plants

If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.As a former organic market farmer, I’ve had lots of experience growing thousands of tomato plants over the years.As a result, I’ve put together a list of 12 tomato growing secrets to use in your home garden for healthier plants, bigger yields, and less work.However, each of these tomato growing secrets is aimed at helping you minimize work while maximizing the harvest.It provides a form of slow-release phosphorous that’s available to the plant throughout the growing season without also piling on an excess of nitrogen.While most gardeners haven’t a clue what the pH of their soil is, this important number influences tomato production big time.That means that when your soil pH is within that range, the plant’s roots can absorb the greatest diversity of nutrients.Invest in a high-quality do-at-home soil test kit and follow the instructions in the results for adjusting your existing pH to reach this optimum target.Some gardeners don’t like using anything plastic around food plants, so if that’s the case for you, use the biodegradable sheet mulch or skip using this tomato growing secret.Another tomato growing secret is to use clay drainage pipes cut in half lengthwise.Smart gardeners take advantage of this by planting tomato transplants either very deeply or horizontally, burying as much of the stem as possible.Deep and horizontal tomato planting results in an extensive root system that’s better able to handle drought and access soil nutrients.No matter how tall your tomato transplant is, at planting time, use your thumb and forefinger to pinch off all of the leaves except the top 4.Herbs in the carrot family, such as dill, fennel, and cilantro, make great companion plants for tomatoes.They provide nectar for the parasitic wasps that help gardeners control tomato hornworms.It provides nectar for several species of syrphid and tachinid flies who prey on pests like aphids, whiteflies, leaf-footed bugs, and tomato fruit worms.They vibrate their flight muscles (at the same wavelength of a middle C) as they nectar on the tomato flowers, knocking the pollen loose as they go.Mulch tomato transplants immediately after planting, using weedless straw, shredded leaves, or untreated grass clippings.Not only does mulch reduce weeding and watering needs throughout the season, but perhaps most importantly, it suppresses common soil-borne tomato diseases, such as blight and leaf spot.Since the lowest leaves are closest to the soil, removing them means a reduced chance of fungal spore splash-up.To remove the lowest leaves, use a pair of scissors or pruners to clip them off where they meet the main stem.Don’t do what I call “splash and dash”, where you only wet the top inch of soil and then move on to the next plant.After effectively watering a tomato plant, you should be able to dig down with a trowel and find wet soil down to a depth of 10 to 12 inches.For those who don’t mind a bushy, rambling plant, let the suckers grow out into full stems. .

The easiest way to grow tomatoes so you never have to buy them

Prep planting containers.Start by collecting planting containers and potting mix.Slice ripe tomatos.Plant tomato slices.Barely cover them with a fine layer of the potting mix and water well.Tomato seeds will typically germinate within eight to 10 days of planting.Let plants grow.Harvest to Table offers a comprehensive chart that lists the days to maturity for many of the commonly grown tomato varieties. .

Tips For Growing Great Tomatoes; Starting Off Right

But even experienced gardeners can sometimes experience challenges in growing these beauties to perfection.Here are some ideas you can apply this season to improve your tomato growing talent.Well-amended soil, full of rich compost and other organic material can be your secret weapon to having the best tomatoes around.To illustrate this point, last year I grew tomatoes in raised beds.It never got diseased, stayed beautifully dark green, and the only pest was a tomato hornworm or two, which I easily picked off by hand.While the results were undeniable, it is not necessary or even advisable to grow tomatoes in pure compost.Pure compost will lack some of the important minerals tomatoes and other plants need to perform their best.However, while a little bit does go a long way, when you’re trying to incorporate 30% of the total soil volume with compost, that adds up quickly.However, I find that the hybrid varieties don’t compare to heirloom tomatoes when it comes to taste.Assuming you have provided rich well-drained soil, pick a sunny spot and don’t plant your tomatoes too close together.Tomato plants thrive in full sun and are healthier when provided good air circulation.In the planting hole, I add a tablespoon or two of dolomitic limestone and mix it into the soil.Cover the plant and water it in thoroughly with a diluted mix of liquid fertilizer.A soaker hose is best for this because it allows the water to soak deep into the soil, without wetting the foliage above.Like with so many examples in gardening and life, how you start out makes all the difference in the world with the success of the harvest. .

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