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Tomato Gardening

Posted by MariaBBB | Added on : May 31, 2010 10:35am | Viewed 932 times | 0 Comments | This article is also in bushel basket and bushel basket

 


Is it too early to be thinking about your tomato plants? Not if you're the competitive tomato gardening type who wants the earliest and sweetest tomato on the block. Unfortunately, growing great tomatoes doesn't just happen. Sample some of the science experiments on sale at your grocery this winter, if you don't believe it. Start early with some time tested tomato growing tips to insure you bragging rights this year.


 


If you are starting tomatoes from seed, be sure to give the seedlings room to branch out. Close conditions inhibit their growth, so transplant them as soon as they get their first true leaves and move them into 4" pots about 2 weeks after that.


 


Tomato seedlings will need either strong, direct sunlight or 14-18 hours under grow lights. Place the young plants only a couple of inches from florescent grow lights. Plant your tomatoes outside in the sunniest part of your vegetable plot.


 


It seems tomato plants need to move and sway in the breeze, to develop strong stems. Provide a breeze by turning a fan on them for 5-10 minutes twice a day.


 


Tomatoes love heat. Cover the planting area with black or red plastic a couple of weeks before you intend to plant. Those extra degrees of warmth will translate into earlier tomatoes.


 


Bury tomato plants deeper than they come in the pot, all the way up to a few top leaves. Tomatoes are able to develop roots all along their stems. You can either dig a deeper hole or simply dig a shallow tunnel and lay the plant sideways. It will straighten up and grow toward the sun. Be careful not to drive your pole or cage into the stem.


 


Mulch after the ground has had a chance to warm up. Mulching does conserve water and prevents the soil and soil born diseases from splashing up on the plants, but if you put it down too early it will also shade and therefore cool the soil. Try using plastic mulch for heat lovers like tomatoes and peppers.


 


Once the tomato plants are about 3' tall, remove the leaves from the bottom 1' of stem. These are usually the first leaves to develop fungus problems. They get the least amount of sun and soil born pathogens can be unintentionally splashed up onto them. Spraying weekly with compost tea also seems to be effective at warding off fungus diseases.


 


Pinch and remove suckers that develop in the crotch joint of two branches. They wonít bear fruit and will take energy away from the rest of the plant. But go easy on pruning the rest of the plant. You can thin leaves to allow the sun to reach the ripening fruit, but itís the leaves that are photosynthesizing and creating the sugars that give flavor to your tomatoes.


 


Water deeply and regularly while the plants are developing. Irregular watering, (missing a week and trying to make up for it), leads to blossom end rot and cracking. Once the fruit begins to ripen, lessening the water will coax the plant into concentrating its sugars. Donít withhold water so much that the plants wilt and become stressed or they will drop their blossoms and possibly their fruit.

 

 

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