Monday, July 26, 2010

Tomatoes, My Favorite

When planting tomatoes be sure and set the plants deeper in the soil than in the original container. Be sure and use mulch or black plastic ground cover to maintain even soil temperature and moisture. A light side dressing of fertilizer may be applied when blossoms first appear. Also while plants are small you should put a tomato cage or some other type of support, so when the plant is mature it will not fall over from the weight of the tomatoes. Soil should be well limed before planting, this and even moisture levels will help prevent Blossom-End Rot. Select tomato varieties that are resistant to disease. Harvest tomatoes when red and juicy. A the end of the season, pick green tomatoes before the first frost and wrap in a single layer of newspaper and bring indoors to ripen.

2 comments:

Ron said...

I love tomatoes and growing them is also fun too, Especially starting them from seed.

Anne said...

Well... first off you want to make sure it is blossom end rot (BER) and not something else. Tomatoes prefer acidic soils, not alkaline. While some strains seem more prone to BER, it is a symptom of nutritional/ environmental problems. BER shows up when the plant is stressed.. high water soluable salts in the soil, not enough calcium available for the plant (either soil lacking enough accessible calcium or over fertilization - magnesium/ potassium/ even nitrogen), irregular soil moisture all trigger it. (Something to keep an eye on is compost from animal manures which does tend to be higher in salts.)
Cover cropping... with winter vetch/ hairy vetch. It is nitrogen fixing and in the spring you cut it down and plant tomatoes where it was growing. The cut vetch then gets used as a mulch. Aside from adding nitrogen, the tomatoes taste better. Something they are still trying to study as initially it was testing to enhance GMO tomatoes until they noticed the non-gmo tomatoes also showed increased plant vigor and higher nutritional content of their fruit as well. All I can attest to is that before trying it myself my tomatoes were decent... and now they better than even the farmer's market tomatoes.