Growing Great Tomatoes: Water and Fertilizer

To get the best tomatoes, pay attention to watering and fertilizing your tomato plants.

Watering Tomato Plants in Your Garden

Tomatoes need a good amount of water, and they produce better with deep watering. Deep watering is when the water sinks deep into the soil, not just remaining at the surface. How you apply irrigation water does impact how deep the water will get. 

Some guides have advised that tomatoes need about 1 inch of water...

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Growing Great Tomatoes: Supports

Tomatoes need support to grow their best. Even determinate tomatoes do better with support.

Supporting tomatoes with a structure helps tomatoes produce well. More air flows through the supported tomato vine which helps reduce plant diseases and discourages pests. Tomato fruits are off the ground and less likely to rot. A supported tomato vine is easier to tend and easier to harvest.

So which kind of support is best? 

Many many tomato...

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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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Watch Out for the Tomato Hornworm!

If you grow tomatoes, sooner or later you'll encounter the tomato hornworm. These are hungry caterpillars that love to strip tomato plants clean.

Creepy looking, aren't they? Surely you can see how they got their name! Even though they have that distinctive "spike" on their back ends, they don't sting. 

These pests are masters of disguise. They are the exact color of the tomato foliage, and they position themselves in such...

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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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Reservoirs for Better Tomatoes

 

Tomatoes can be a bit tricky to grow. They require lots of nutrients (i.e. fertilizer) and lots of water, but not too much, and not all at once. The temperature at night has to be "just so" or they'll drop their flowers. They need lots of sun, except when it's too much sun and your tomatoes gets scalded! 

Rather particular, aren't they?

I love tomatoes so much that I'll deal with their quirks. 

While we can't...

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