It is tomato growing season! The best time of the year for us gardeners. Here are my top 10 tips for growing high-producing plants.
1. Start your plants off right by transplanting in holes that are prepared for success. I like to fill my holes with compost, or my favorite worm castings, egg shells and Epson salt.
2. Plant your tomatoes in full sun. They will need at least six to eight hours of good sunlight. Morning sun is better than afternoon.
3. Cover the soil around your tomato plants to avoid soil splashing on leaves. The soil may contain a fungus that will cause disease in your plants. My favorite method is Back to Eden Gardening.
4. Prune off any leaves that appear to have a fungus developing. Look for yellowing and spots. Get them early to avoid spreading to other leaves. The disease usually starts at the bottom of the plant and works its way up.
5. Give your plants a slow-release nitrogen source around the base of your plants. I like to chop and drop comfrey around my plants. As it decays, it releases nitrogen, but not too much. Too much nitrogen will create many leaves but little fruit.
6. Prune off excess leaves and suckers. Excess leaves will divert the plants energy away from producing tomatoes. Prune these off when they are small to avoid stress on the plants. Be careful not to prune off the fruit producing sections.
7. Try to keep constant moisture for your plants. Again, my preferred method is Back to Eden Gardening.
8. Cage or string up your plants using the Florida Weave method to allow the tomatoes to gain the most amount of vitamin C from exposure to the sun. I use concrete reinforcing wire for my cages. They are sturdy and last for many seasons.
9. Feed your plants regularly with an organic fish emulsion/kelp mix foliar spray.
10. Set apart the first and best tomatoes to save the seeds for next season. The first tomatoes are usually the biggest and best ones. It is very tempting to want to eat these first tomatoes of the season. But hold yourself back. These will have the strongest seeds for next year’s harvest. And as you save your own seeds, the tomatoes will get better every year as they get acclimated to your unique soil. I use only heirloom seeds and plants.
Try some or all of these tips and see if they improve your tomato growing results. What tips do you have for growing high-producing tomatoes?