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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3 Ideas To Use Up Tomatoes

recipes tomato tomatoes Sep 09, 2021

Do you find yourself with "too many" tomatoes?

Maybe you remember your parents or grandparents canning the abundance of the tomato harvest. Canning is still alive and well in the US, but it takes a lot of work, special equipment and a good chunk of time. It can also be messy. If you're going to do it, you might as well have at least 20 pounds of tomatoes and plan for a half a day to get it done. 

Those of us with small plots...

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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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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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Wild Successes in My 2020 Garden

Yes, I've encouraged gardeners to celebrate their successes, so here are some my best gardening wins this year.

Success #1: Cucumbers!

I grew 8 cucumber vines this season, and holy cow they did terrific! They grew quickly and robustly in the late spring/early summer. By July I was picking cucumbers like crazy. 

All those cucumbers made me realize two things:

  1. 8 plants produce way too much for two people...
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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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What I'm Planting in May and June

As May rolls into June, the weather is becoming more summer-like. The spring cool season vegetables are beginning to finish up their productive time. Fortunately, you can use their space to plant other crops that grow their best in the heat of summer. 

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable to grow - and it's no surprise. There is nothing like the flavor of a home-grown tomato. I use starter plants...

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