Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tomatoes: keep your plant healthy

Tomatoes are fairly easy to grow and some simple steps can keep your plants healthy all season long. Be sure to plant your tomatoes in a different location every year, keeping in mind at least half a day’s worth of sun. Changing around the position of your tomato crop will keep away late blight.

 Mulching the area around the base of the plant prevents certain soil-related diseases as well as keeping the soil moist after watering. Mulching also keeps unwanted weeds at bay.

 As your plant grows, make sure to remove leaves that touch the ground not only for air circulation as mentioned in the previous post, but also to reduce mildew and blight. When you remove the lower leaves, soil won’t splash onto the leaves. In general, keeping the bottom of the tomato plant airy and pruned will improve the entire plant’s performance and health. Pruning is a good practice for a healthy plant, ripening fruit, aiding air flow and preventing blight and disease. Pruning should also involve removing dead and unhealthy leaves.

 Water should only soak the ground beneath the plant, not the foliage or plant itself. If using a hose, try setting it on a gentle flow and holding the nozzle close to the ground, avoiding the lower branches of the plant. If using a watering can, try the same technique, never watering from above the plant. A fully drenched plant can create mildew and allow room for blight. For hot weather, water your plants once a week with at least one inch of water in addition to regular watering. Once fruit is going strong later in the season, stop watering! This seems a strange idea, but it will help your fruit to ripen before the season ends.


Image: Laurelville Mennonite Church

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