Monday, June 15, 2015

Tomatoes: Basic Growing Tips

Tomatoes are a fun and popular plant to grow due to the flavorful fruit and abundant produce from even a single plant. Yet it’s easy to run into problems with this garden favorite. I’ve written three posts to discuss the best ways to grow tomatoes in our Pacific Northwest climate. This post deals with the basics of growing tomatoes. While you can grow tomatoes from seed, I’ll just be discussing growing tomatoes via starts you’ve planted in your garden.

Tomatoes come in two specific varieties: determinate and indeterminate. Determinate tomatoes are perfect for small spaces because they require little room and can often do without support, such as cages. The fruit on a determinate plant will ripen around the same time, creating a glut of delicious fruits. Indeterminate tomato plants take up more space and continue to grow even as they bear fruit. This type of tomato plant will need support due to its increasing size. The indeterminate plant will have fruit throughout the season.

Air flow is very important with tomatoes. Be sure to follow the spacing guidelines given to you with your tomato plant. The plants need air to help prevent mildew and fungal attack. Just like humans, plants need to breathe and can easily get overcrowded. For the branchy indeterminate tomato plants, you can remove the suckers from the bottom 10” of the plant for extra air flow. A sucker is the little branchy leaf that starts to grow between the V-shape of tomato stem. While there’s contention on whether or not you should remove all the suckers, removing just a few will help the flow of air and redirect growing energy to the fruit instead of a new stem.

Stay tuned for most posts dealing with tomatoes!


Photo Credit: Shandrew

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