Tips for Healthy Tomatoes

Tomatoes are not difficult plants, and they don’t require much special treatment to produce an impressive crop of juicy, delicious fruit. Spend a few minutes each day tending to your plants and you will be greatly rewarded at harvest.

Location

Plant tomatoes in full sun so that they will receive 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. The best locations have good air flow, but are protected from strong winds.


Crop Rotation

Try to avoid growing tomatoes, peppers and potatoes in the same location each year. These crops are susceptible to the same soil-borne blight and wilt diseases. Unfortunately, the average home garden usually doesn’t have enough space to keep these crops on the recommended 3 year rotation. If blight and wilt are a problem, choose resistant varieties and consider planting tomatoes in a large container, then bury the container in the ground. Use fresh potting soil in the container.


Plant Them Deep

The knobby nodes on the stem will become roots. Pinch off the lowest leaves and bury the stem deep. If your plants are very tall and leggy, a good 6″ might be underground. That’s a good thing!


Pruning

You don’t have to prune tomatoes, but you can choose to remove suckers and a few branches. It just depends on whether you have room for a large, sprawling plant, or if you need to control the size of the plant for containers or crowding. A little pruning is okay, but tomatoes need plenty of foliage to shade the fruit from sunscald.


Fertilizing