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Planting Tomatoes

Setting out tomato
plants works better than planting seed directly in the garden. This is especially true in the northern
states where the growing season is shorter.
You can buy plants or grow your own. You can find All tomatoes Variety
information with PlantSpot app. The latter costs less and gives
you more control over the type of tomatoes grown. You can buy seed from the various seed
companies or save your own from the previous year's crop. Buying seeds provides
Keep in mind that unlike heirloom tomatoes, the seeds saved from hybrid
a greater choose of varieties and allows you to avoid some bad seed problems.
tomatoes will not produce the exact same type of tomato as the hybrid
weeks before planting time. The full
variety. Tomato plants can be grown in a
green house, hot bed or in the house on a stand using plastic trays and grow
lamps. You should start them about 6
spectrum grow lights work better than plain florescent lamps. When planting tomato
plants, don't be afraid of placing too much of the plant stem in the
ground. A little extra stem in the soil
provides a better root structure. Plants should be spaced about 15 inches to 2
feet apart to allow the plants to bush out and get adequate sun.

Weeding & Plant Maintenance

To minimize the amount of tilling and hoeing required
to control weeds, you may want to make all of your middles slightly wider than
your tiller. In that way you can till once down each middle, close to the
weeds in a tomato row can be removed by hoeing but a few next to the
plants and leave only weeds that come up in the actual row. Most of the
plants will have to be pulled. You will need to till and hoe about three
times before the plants get too large to allow a tiller to go down the middle. It is best to provide support for tomato plants.
This can be done by using wire tomato cages or stakes. If you are
planting a lot of tomatoes, sticks cut from brush will serve quite well
and is economical. If you use sticks for support, cut short pieces of string
and tie up the plants several times as the plants grow. Plants grown in
tomato cages will need to be rearranged within the cage from time to time. Pruning the
bottom branches will cause the plants to grow tall and be less bushy.
Controlling Diseases and
Insects
Tomatoes are easy to grow without too many problems
with diseases and pests. However, tomato plants are susceptible to several
diseases including blight, leaf spot, and mold. The most severe is the early
blight caused by the alternaria solani fungus. The
leaves wither, die and fall off, killing the plants prematurely. The
blight infects the lower leaves of a plant and spreads upward. The fungus
spores are able to survive in infected plant debris in the soil for a couple of
years. Plants infected by the blight, produce smaller and fewer tomatoes
season. Blight seems to be worse when the weather stays cool
which may show signs of sun scald and rot. Production stops early in the
and wet for a long time. There are several things that can be done to control
the blight. You can buy disease resistant variety seeds and grow your own
location; remove infected plant material from the garden; provide supports and
plants; rotate your crops to avoid repeatedly planting tomatoes in the same
mulch to keep the foliage off the ground; and use fungicides. The
fungicide selected should be one recommended for this specific fungal disease. The tomato hornworm will eat both the tomato plants
and fruits. These caterpillars get large and can devour a lot of material
in a short time. They have a horn on one end and appear dangerous.
see since they are the same color as the plants. If you see where leaves have
They say that they can’t sting but I’m not so sure. They are not easy to
worm. To confirm that a worm is there; look for black droppings under the
been eaten and/or there are holes in the green tomatoes, you need to look for a
plant. If you see them, a worm is most likely somewhere on the
plant. Remove it before it can do more damage. Tomato hornworms are controlled somewhat by parasitic
wasps. Late in the season, you may see hornworms with white pupal cases
on their back. These are not hornworm eggs. They belong to
the brachonid wasps. Don’t kill these hornworms since
they are no longer feeding on the tomato plants. Instead, leave the worms in
place so the wasps will hatch to attack other hornworms. If the remaining
worms from the plants. Should the use of chemicals be necessary, a
worm population is small, you should be able to control them by hand picking
the label. Always read and follow the directions on the containers when
general purpose garden pesticide will not work as well as an insecticide that
targets hornworms. The insects targeted by a product should be listed on
the Sources of Information on Vegetable Garden Diseases and Pests.
applying chemicals on garden plants. For specific details on controlling
diseases and pests, click on the "Gardening Resources" tab and go to

Harvesting

Tomatoes ripen starting around August and may continue
until the first frost. It is best to pick tomatoes as soon as the color
indicates that they are ready. Their bright color attracts birds and
them in a basket or sturdy box is better for transporting to minimize
animals that would otherwise eat them. Removing the steams and placing
the others. You don’t want to stack tomatoes too high causing excessive
damage. If you keep damaged tomatoes, they should be kept separated from
pressure on the bottom layer. Store them in a cool place and check
periods of time.
periodically for any signs of rot. A rotten tomato can cause others
touching it to rot. Tomatoes can be frozen or canned to keep for long