Top Tomato Tips
Host: Gary Bachman, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
Whether you like beefsteak or cherries, your tomatoes this year can the tastiest on the block following these tips today on Southern Gardening.
Over 35 million people, and this be a low estimate, in the US grow tomatoes making them are the most popular vegetable in the garden. And with so many varieties, following these tips may be easier than deciding which to grow.
Consistent irrigation is one of the best management practices you can have growing tomatoes. Inconsistent water supply can lead to blossom end rot, cat facing, and cracking. Use a good organic mulch to help slow moisture loss and keep splashes off the foliage. Blight can be one of the worst disease problems encountered growing tomatoes. Crop rotation is essential, but can be difficult if you have a small garden space. Consider containers for smaller gardens. Mulching and staking also can help. Solarizing the soil is way to destroy some of the disease organisms. Covering the garden soil with clear plastic will raise the soil temperature using the heat from the sun. Of course you would do this before planting the garden.
Tomato growers many times harvest more than the family can eat. So how many plants should you grow? Typically, for every tomato eater you should plant two plants. If you want can tomatoes, then 4 plants per person. In the Bachman garden I have 84 tomato plants and I don’t like fresh tomatoes. Somewhere my math was off a bit.
But having excess tomatoes is not a bad problem. This is a great way to make friends in the neighborhood. Or contact your local farmers market to see if you can set a table up every once in a while.
I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.