Tomatoes are heavy feeders requiring calcium, phosphorous, nitrogen and other micro nutrients to grow strong. They can become sick if you fail to fertilize them properly.
They are also highly susceptible to a soil-borne disease called tomato blight. That can decimate a crop in a matter of days.
A well-prepared garden bed with excellent drainage can grow a great crop of tomatoes. Test your soil to know what nutrients are needed and to make sure the pH is correct.
Tomatoes prefer a soil pH range of 6.2 to 6.8 and require a steady supply of major and minor plant nutrients. Mix a continuous-release fertilizer with calcium, such as Miracle-Gro(r) Performance Organics(r) Edibles Plant Nutrition Granules, into the soil as you prepare your planting holes.
Continue to feed your tomatoes with these nutrients throughout the growing season, as the label directs. This will prevent blossom end rot, which can happen when the tomato plant doesn’t get enough calcium.
Water regularly to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Aim for at least 1 inch of water per week, more during summer heat waves.
Having the right watering schedule is essential for tomato plant growth. Missing a day or two of watering (or allowing your plants to get overwatered) leads to blossom end rot and cracked tomatoes, both of which can damage your fruit.
To water effectively, check the soil around your tomato plants regularly to see how dry it is. Make sure the soil is moist at a depth of 6-8 inches, and only water when the top layer dries out an inch or so.
Watering deeply and slowly encourages healthy root development and a better-established plant. You can achieve this by using a soaker hose or a drip irrigation system. The latter is particularly effective as it delivers water to the base of each plant and prevents splashing or run off.
Tomatoes are heavy feeders, and they require a lot of nutrients to grow well. They need nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium for good growth and fruit production.
When fertilizing tomatoes, it is important to add fertilizer in a slow and controlled way. Adding too much can burn your seedlings or damage your plants.
A good organic fertilizer will provide all the essential nutrients your tomato plants need, without causing any harm to them. They are formulated from materials such as bone meal, alfalfa, and other slow-releasing ingredients that break down in the soil and provide nutrients over time.
Fertilizer is usually applied when a tomato plant first starts blooming or during the early fruit-setting stage of the plant. The fertilizer should be sprayed on the soil about 6 inches from the base of the tomato plant. Water deeply after feeding to help the fertilizer reach the root system of your plants.
Pruning tomato plants can improve yields, prolong the season, and keep tomatoes disease free. But pruning should be done carefully and selectively, depending on your climate, site, and growing conditions.
Most gardeners begin by pruning tomato plants after they are transplanted into the ground. This helps to focus the plant’s energy into a strong root system and to form a main stem.
This can be accomplished by pinching off suckers, which are side shoots that grow in the crook (technical term) of the leaf stem and main stem of the plant. These suckers will eventually grow into full-sized branches, adding lots of foliage and, eventually, fruit.
Harvesting is an important part of the growing cycle for many crops. It’s also a social event in many cultures and religions, highlighting the importance of food production.
When the tomatoes are ripe, pick them carefully so you don’t damage them or spoil them. Tomatoes are a favorite food of deer, rabbits, and squirrels, so protect your plants from these pests by using chicken wire or insect netting.
To help your tomato plant produce larger, earlier-ripening fruits, prune off any suckers and side shoots as they appear. This encourages your plant to put all its energy into making large, ripe fruit rather than trying to set more flowers or develop smaller ones.
Water the tomatoes regularly to keep the soil evenly moist. Uneven watering can cause a condition called blossom-end rot, which causes dark spots on the bottom of ripening fruit.