Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tomato School

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There are two kinds of tomato plants: determinate and indeterminate.  Determinate plants grow well in a cage and do not need pruning.  Indeterminate plants need to be pruned, staked and usually have heavier yields.  
Tomatoes are heavy feeders - a spike or granular fertilizer at the time of planting with a small amount of water soluble fertilizer at each watering.  The fertilizer should have a low first number - nitrogen.  You should provide consistent deep watering at the roots, rather than the foliage.  It is best to cage a tomato plant to allow for better ripening, use of space and to keep the plant off the ground.  
Only prune indeterminate plants by pinching small suckers above the leaf branch.  You will do this only once.  You can also pinch off some of the flowers to let the plant grow bigger, riper tomatoes.  
To ripen green tomatoes, layer singly between sheets of newspaper in a dark box or place inside a bag with an apple.  The apple releases ethylene gas which enhances ripening.
There can be some problems when growing tomatoes.  Cracking can be caused by fast growth and can be controlled by consistent watering.  Blossom end rot can be caused by irregular or inadequate watering and a calcium deficiency.  Use a low nitrogen fertilizer to help the plant absorb calcium.  Lots of nitrogen in the soil will draw the calcium away from the plant.
Lois Hole suggests the following tomatoes:  Big Beef, Super Fantastic and Early Girl (Indeterminate) and Celebrity and Tumbler (Determinate).
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 12:00 AM 0 Comments