My favorite summer time snack is a sliced up tomato with a little bit of salt and pepper. I’ve had a good bit of success with tomato plants by following a few basic principles every year, so I wanted to get them down for anyone else wanting to plant tomatoes!
Rule #1 –Look for sun. Tomato plants need lots of sun, so find the spot in your yard that seems to get the most prolonged sun.
Rule #2 – Get some poop! Going back to my other gardening blog post, good soil and compost is a crucial first step, so you need to get a bag of manure. If you have a compost bin, throw some of that in there too. Till it all up in the soil before planting.
Rule #3 – Get the right variety of tomato plant. If you are a beginner, I strongly recommend you get a patio container variety (even if you aren’t container gardening). The fruit isn’t as prone to splitting, the plants aren’t as likely to overgrow, and you’ll still get a great yield. If you get one of the regular varieties, make sure you cut back any excessive growth before the plant outgrows its cage.
Rule #4 – Use a tomato plant cage. They need the support!
This was my first yield from last year.
ISSUES TO WATCH FOR:
A couple of common problems that you’ll need to watch for (fortunately, there are super easy fixes if you know what you’ve got).
Problem #1 – Blossom End Rot – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_deficiency_%28plant_disorder%29 – Most garden supply stores sell something that you can put on the plant to add calcium to the plant and protect against this. It’s best to be proactive with treating it, but you can also treat the plant after you notice it later on in the season.
Problem #2 – Hornworms – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manduca_quinquemaculata – I hate these things, because they EAT and they eat fast. They tend to start at the top of the plant and go down from there, and they will eat your whole tomato plant if left alone. The easiest thing to do is pull them off of the plant and drown them in a bowl of water. If they have a bunch of white things on them that look like rice, leave the worm alone. The rice looking things are wasp eggs and the baby wasps will kill the hornworm when they hatch. These wasps are crucial to future hornworm pest control, hence letting that little circle of parasitic dependence continue on.