Tomatoes flourish in full sun and warm temperatures.
However, if you’re in short supply of sunny or warm days, havoc
can begin taking over your tomatoes. Dreary-looking young tomato plants WILL
flourish, once the weather changes, but it’s important to do what you can to
make sure they have some extra care and are fed in the meantime.
Give Tomatoes a Lift
If you’re waiting on the weather to improve, the most
important thing you can do for your tomato plants is give them some support.
Tomato plants often bend, lean or even break as fruit matures. To help your
plant from becoming damaged, get
to know the tomato you’re planting. Indeterminate plants benefit from some
support, while determinate tomatoes may be just fine on their own.
Use tomato cages, wood or metal stakes, or a trellis to give
plants extra support. It’s really a matter of preference which one you choose.
The most important thing is that you’re keeping plants off
the ground to avoid pests, diseases and rot. Learn more about supporting
your tomatoes here.
The trick is to feed tomatoes monthly with an organic,
nitrogen-heavy fertilizer. Tomatoes have big appetites, so their
all-you-can-eat buffet runs out quick. Feed single in-ground plants with 3
tablespoons of Tomato-tone monthly. For rows of plants, spread 1 cup on each
side per 5 feet. Feed potted plants 1.5 teaspoons per 4” pot diameter.
Pests got plants
When it comes to insects in your garden, don’t be quick to
kill. Not all insects are enemies. In fact, most insects are essential players
in your organic garden’s success. Others are neutral and don’t cause any harm.
Yet some will ruin your harvest.
Spotting the difference between the good and the bad can be
tricky, so keep your eyes peeled. Hornworms, fruitworms, aphids and beet
armyworms can all spell disaster for your crop. Identify if these bad bugs are
of your problems here.
Less is More
Pruning tomatoes is a controversial practice that many
expert gardeners say is unnecessary. There are times when pruning can be
beneficial — fewer leaves mean air circulates better and leaves dry quicker,
reducing the risk of disease.
Plants with less density direct energy toward producing
bigger fruit. Plus, tomatoes often ripen earlier after a good pruning, allowing
you to enjoy your harvest sooner.
Vertically grown tomatoes are ultimately easier to prune
because unnecessary suckers and leaves are more visible. Though pruned plants
may be better protected from insects and disease, staked and pruned plants may
be more susceptible to blossom end rot and sunscald. Get the scoop on pruning
tomato plants here.
If a dark, water soaked spot has formed on your tomato you
may have blossom-end rot. This problem is likely caused by an imbalance of
calcium in the plant. Large spots will dry out and appear to be leathery. Maintain
consistent soil moisture throughout the growing season. When the weather is
dry, water at least twice a week and moisten the soil to a depth of at least 6
inches. Find out more about stopping
blossom end rot here.
See how Laura from Garden Answer grows tomatoes upside down!
Products for healthy tomatoes