Welcome to Tomato Talk, where we’ll talk tomatoes all season long.
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Plant a variety of tomatoes and reap the rewards.
May 30– It's time to plant.
Remember these essentials:
1. Tomatoes need root development. Here are two ways to plant for maximum root development: either dig a “trench” for each tomato plant, laying it on its side and covering the entire stem with soil, or prune off the plant’s bottom pair of leaves, then bury it deeply in the ground, right up to the remaining leaves. Either way, rootlets will grow along the stem, increasing the plant’s ability to draw nutrients and water from the soil.
2. Tomatoes need space. They’re small at first, and it’s tempting to crowd them. But remember: some tomatoes grow 6+ feet tall. Plant them 2 to 3 feet apart to ensure the air circulation they need to prevent disease.
3. Tomatoes need support. Indeterminate tomatoes (those that grow and set fruit all season) need sturdy cages (2 x 2 x 6 feet) or stakes (4 to 8 feet tall) to keep their branches and fruit off the ground. Save small wire cages for determinate (18- to 24-inch) plants.
4. Tomatoes need water—but in the right place. Water tomatoes at the base of the plants—soaker hoses are great for this—to keep leaves from being splattered by soil (which can harbor fungus and bacteria). Water early in the morning so leaves dry out quickly; wet leaves can create disease conditions, too. Mulch the ground around the plants with a few inches of straw or lightweight material to conserve precious moisture. Tomato plants can react to wild swings of moisture by cracking, scarring, and other spoiling effects. They love even moisture—the opposite of woody plants and turf, which appreciate a bit of drought between deep infrequent soakings.