Garden update Oct 1 2011.
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Question by girlscanfishtoo: I’m on the hunt for Tomato growing tips……….?
I’ve herd in the past to plant to plant the tomato in the ground up to the first branch…
Does anyone have any advice on that?
Answer by prosopopoeia
I do plant a good portion of my tomato plants under the soil and leave only the top bushy growth plus a layer of leaves above the soil. Sometimes I lay the portion of the plant that is covered on its side, rather shallow, and sometimes I drop it straight down in a deep hole. Both methods work and I can’t say one is better than the other.
Prepare the soil with Espoma tomato tone or bulb tone and add some espom salts for adequate magnesium. That helps. I also usually grind up a few cracked eggshells in the vicinity of the planting hole, if I have any handy. Adds calcium and other minerals. I don’t know if it helps, but it has not hurt anything. I have heard of adding a bit of sulfur (even by using an old style match stick) and black pepper into the hole, mixing it into the soil. I have done this. Again, I don’t know if it helps but it has not harmed the plants.
Avoid miracle-gro and other fortified fertilizers.
Begin staking the tomatoes after they are 2 feet tall. Be certain not to push the stake through the stem of the plant (e.g., if you planted the tomato on its side). This would not kill the plant, but will weaken it some.
Keep tobacco products and tobacco-stained hands and clothes away from the plants. Very harmful. Causes tobacco mosaic virus.
I don’t worry about insect pests. The harm they do is so small that it is not worth using chemicals to keep them out.
I personally prefer big tomatoes, so I look for those varieties. I have often grown 2 pound tomatoes, but I have never grown one that reached 3 pounds. Brandywine is the best tasting, but not quite as prolific as others. Mortgage Lifter and Beefmaster are prolific and very good tasting. Golden Boys are very good but a little sweeter.
I don’t particularly care for determinate tomatoes (do your own research), but to each his own. I also feel (imagine?) that early girl, better boy, champion, celebrity, goliath, and some others of the popular varieties are not as tasty. But you can have some fun determining that for yourself.
Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!
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