Growing Great Tomatoes: Planting Transplants

I prefer to use transplants for tomatoes.

Most often I buy the transplants at a garden center. Some years, I have started my own transplants from seed indoors when I've wanted a variety that may be hard to find at the garden center. I only grow 6 to 8 tomato plants so buying transplants is not all that expensive. If you're growing dozens or hundreds of tomatoes, though, starting your own form seed is more cost-effective!

For most gardeners in...

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Growing Great Tomatoes: Varieties

Since tomatoes are one of the most popular crops for the home and community gardener, let's dive in to how to have a great harvest.

You probably know that there are hundreds of varieties of tomatoes you can grow. It's easy to get overwhelmed with what kind of tomato to grow!

In this article, we'll go through the process of selecting what kinds of tomatoes you should grow based on your goals and your growing environment. We answer 3...

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There's Always an Exception....

Last week's article was about pruning suckers from your tomatoes to keep the plant from getting too large. I shared some pictures of suckers and discussed how to identify them.

The majority of indeterminate tomato plants look just like my pictures. Suckers emerge out from the "joints" between leaf branches and the main vine. Technically, these joints are called "axils."

But last year, I grew San Marzano tomatoes for...

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Tomato Suckers

Not talking about candy! 

(I call them lollipops, incidentally.)

Although, now that I think about it... might be kinda good! 

But I digress.

Suckers are small shoots that emerge from a main tomato vine. With practice, you can learn to recognize them easily. 

Lots of plants have growths called "suckers." You might recognize the term used for shrubs or small trees, like lilacs, fruit trees, etc. Cucumbers have them...

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How and When to Harvest Tomatoes

You might think that harvesting tomatoes is a no-brainer. That is, it should be obvious. You pick them when they are red, right?

Or yellow, orange, or purple, if you are growing a specialty variety. 

I've started picking them early and I get terrific results when I do. Read on to find out how you can get great results too. 

How To Get Best Looking Ripe Tomatoes

I prefer to pick my tomatoes a little bit early,...

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Planting the Summer Garden

Here in Zone 6, I'm harvesting my spring crops briskly. Every time I go to my garden plot, there's something ready to be picked. Peas, carrots, beets, and lettuce. The spinach is already done! 

This also means that the spaces these crops are occupying will soon be open. 

Space is a limited resource in my garden plot, and I don't want to waste it! So, what goes in next?

What Can I Grow?

Two considerations are most important: how much...

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Determinate vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes

If you've shopped for tomato starter plants (or transplants) recently, you may have noticed the plant tags have a lot of information.

  • Variety name
  • Hybrid or heirloom
  • A series of letters that seem like a code.
  • Determinate or Indeterminate

The variety name is pretty obvious. It tells you what kind of tomato it is, like "Brandywine" or "Roma."

The hybrid or heirloom tells you whether this type of tomato was bred specifically by humans...

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