Spring Gardening | Tomato Tips

May 17, 2016

Heirloom Tomato

I was flipping through a gardening magazine over the weekend and came across an advice column with the following tips for growing beautiful tomatoes. Thought you might be interested, ’cause who doesn’t love fresh summertime tomatoes.

I also wanted to share a song with you ‘Steady Heart‘ that I recently discovered through my yoga class playlist. One word. Repeat.

Here are 6 ways to maximize your tomato harvest!

Support your plants
Sturdy metal cages or wooden ladders keep plants upright, prevent broken stems and make harvesting easier.

Water deeply
Keep the entire root zone evenly moist by watering slowly and deeply – a soaker hose is ideal. Avoid daily sprinklers, which result in a shallow root system. This was a new concept to me but I tried this approach last summer and I think it made a huge difference.

Apply mulch
Once the soil warms up, a supply of 2″ or 3″ layer of organic mulch, such as straw, to conserve soil moisture. This helps minimize blossom end rot, which is caused in part by fluctuating moisture levels. I rake my weed free (okay kind of weed free) grass clippings and spread a layer around the tomatoes. It also helps keep the weeds under control.

Fertilize regularly
Tomatoes are heavy feeders. Fertilize plants monthly throughout the growing season to keep them strong and productive. I also plant my tomatoes with a couple Tums (two or three per plant).

Prune suckers
Pinch off suckers (the shoots that form where side branches meet the stem), especially those that grow below the first flower cluster. Allows more energy for producing delicious fruit!

Troubleshoot
Examine plants daily looking for signs of trouble – chewed leaves, for example, or spots on foliage or stems. Get to know the insect pests and diseases common in your region so you’ll recognize them early, when control is easiest. I just cross my fingers on this one. No, I am trying to learn more and more with each season. It takes time, like anything.

Cooper Hereford Ranch

Crab Apple Blossoms

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