Sunday, July 6, 2008

Growing Tomatoes

Here are 6 tips for growing great tomatoes:

(Tips collected from a few websites and a little bit of experience.)

1. 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.
2. Remove Bottom Leaves. 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.
3. Pinch & Prune. Pinch and remove suckers that develop in the crotch joint of two branches. They won’t 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 it’s the leaves that are photosynthesizing and creating the sugars that give flavor to your tomatoes.
4. Water Regularly. 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. Don’t withhold water so much that the plants wilt and become stressed or they will drop their blossoms and possibly their fruit.
5. Tap the stem. When you see early blooms, tap lightly on the stem. This will help with pollination and earlier fruit.
6. Invest in a good cage. I like to stake and cage my tomatoes for extra support (see photo).


Joy Switzer said...

Megan, I love these tomato tips! Do you have any advise for growing potted tomatoes? Mine are not getting as full as some I have seen.

Oh this is Joy by the way!! ;o)

Ben & Tera said...

Hey ladies, I love, love, love this blog. Thanks for doing this!

Glamorous Life of a House Wife said...

ooooh, fun new blog!! I added you to my list! :)

Megan said...

Thanks so much for the positive feedback! Keep commenting so that we know what you are most interested in and how we can make this blog better!

Joy, this is my first season with potted tomatoes, so I am hesitant to give much advice. Here's what I do know:
1. They need be in a big pot (at least 5 gallons).
2. They need good drainage
3. They need to be watered regularly (put your finger about 1" into the soil. If it feels dry, it needs water).
4. Use a good fertilizer. The best I have found is Dr. Earth for Veggies and Tomatoes (found at Drake's 7 Dees Garden Center). You can fertilize with this product without worrying much about overdoing it (see back label for instructions).
5. There are certain varieties that do better in pots, such as the "Patio Tomato", but most will prove successful.
6. They needs lots of sun!! One benefit of a pot is that you can move it around to give it more sun throughout the day.

I hope that your tomatoes do well this summer!

Jenne said...

Good post. resurrect this one next year when we are thinking about getting our plants in the ground. i could use the reminders!

Megan said...

I will do that Jenne! I will need the reminders as well. I also found some great tips for planting tomatoes from seed that I want to share next year in early spring.