Tips for Healthy Tomato Plants
Plant Them Deep
The knobby nodes on the stem will become roots. Bury the plant deeper than the soil line or trench it by laying the stem sideways in the ground and burying it. The top will right itself and grow straight for the sun.
Remove Lower Leaves
The leaves closest to the ground are the oldest and will be shaded by new growth. Removing them helps prevent disease and provides better air circulation.
Caging or staking will keep vines and fruit off the ground, and make it easier to harvest. Put the cages on while the plant is still young, it's quite a wrestling match to cage a large plant.
Water regularly and deeply. Irregular watering (missing a few days and trying to make up for it,) leads to blossom end-rot and cracking. When the fruits are dehydrated, then receive a rush of moisture, the fruits will crack and the plant is more susceptible to problems. As a general rule, plants in the ground need as least 1 inch of moisture per week. A layer of mulch on the soil will conserve moisture and keep the soil temperature even.
Amend the soil with compost before planting, and don't forget to fertilize. Tomatoes put a lot of energy into producing fruits and need good nutrition. We have both organic granular and liquid fertilizers. A fertilizer with calcium will help with blossom end-rot. Chances are your soil contains enough calcium, but improper watering can bind calcium in the soil and make it unavailable to the plant.
Prune weak leaves, broken stems and the oldest leaves from the plant, but don't overprune. The leaves protect the fruits from sunscald. You can also remove a few of the suckers, but don't remove suckers on determinate plants.
If you have any questions, call us! 484-5022.
Irregular watering causes a lot of problems, including the dreaded blossom end rot. Always water your tomatoes deep and thoroughly, instead of wetting the surface. Aim to keep the soil damp, like a wrung-out sponge. If you're unsure whether to water, get your hands dirty! Poke a hold deep in the soil and check for moisture.