Unfortunately, there are few vegetables that are prone to more problems than tomatoes. The trick to growing great-tasting tomatoes is to choose the best varieties, start the plants off right, and control problems before they happen. Here are 8 things you can do to mint billions this season.
Don’t Crowd Tomato Seedlings
Provide Lots of Light
Tomato seedlings need strong, direct light. Days are short during winter, so even placing them near a sunny window may not provide them with sufficient natural light.
Turn A Fan On
Tomato plants need to move and sway in the breeze to develop strong stems. That happens naturally outdoors, but if you start your seedlings inside, you need to provide some type of air circulation. Create a breeze by turning a fan on them for five to 10 minutes, twice a day. That small amount of time will make a big difference.
Preheat The Garden Soil
Bury The Stems
If you are not going to leave the plastic on the soil, hold off on putting down mulch until after the ground has had a chance to warm up. Although mulching conserves water and prevents the soil and soilborne diseases from splashing up on the plants, if you put it down too early, it will also shade and cool the soil.
Remove The Bottom Leaves
After your tomato plants reach about 3 feet tall, remove the leaves from the bottom foot of the stem. These are the oldest leaves, and they are usually the first leaves to develop fungus problems. As the plants fill out, the bottom leaves get the least amount of sun and airflow.
Pinch And Prune For More Tomatoes
Pinch and remove suckers that develop in the crotch joint of two branches. They won’t bear fruit and will take energy away from the rest of the plant. However, go easy on pruning the rest of the plant. You can thin out a few leaves to allow the sun to reach the ripening fruit, but it’s the leaves that are photosynthesizing and creating the sugars that give flavour to your tomatoes. Fewer leaves will mean fewer sweet tomatoes.
Water deeply and regularly while the fruits are developing. Irregular watering—missing a week and trying to make up for it—leads to blossom end rot (a calcium deficiency) and cracking and splitting.