“GARDENING IS CHEAPER THAN THERAPY AND YOU GET TOMATOES”
The three most important considerations for your tomatoes are sunny location (minimum 6 hours a day), good soil and adequate water (raised beds may require more water).
There are basically three types of tomatoes:
Indeterminate – most common type, when supported, will grow upward and outward until killed by frost or disease, leading to potentially huge and unruly plants.
Determinate – this type will top out at 3-4 feet tall and are well controlled by cone-type tomatoes cages.
Dwarf – this type behaves like indeterminate varieties in fruiting but grow vertically at about half the rate. Great for small containers and are very easy to control with short stakes or cages.
A very recent phenomenon is the creation of grafted tomato plants. In such plants, the growing top of a favored (but not necessarily disease resistant) variety such as Cherokee Purple or Brandywine, is grafted onto a root-stock that is disease resistant such as potato root-stock.
The idea is that when such a specimen is planted into diseased soil, the chances of survival are increased because the disease is unable to enter the plant through the root system.
Grafted tomatoes behave as indeterminate and can grow to 7 feet by 4 feet and need support preferably metal cages.
Purchasing your tomatoes- buy tomatoes that will be successful in your climate by selecting a known grower that supplies your nursery. Most nurseries will sell the compatible plants.
What to buy? That’s your choice according to your taste (more on this later).
I buy seedlings and then transfer them into one-gallon containers so that the root system grows bigger and stronger. Why? When the tomato is transplanted into your soil the plant is more able to have less root shock or impact from the transplant welcome to it’s new home! I believe the root system is the key to a healthy plant and tasty tomatoes.
Soils preparation. I add peat moss to my raised beds each year. I put about 4 inches on top and then using a pitch fork work the peat moss into the soil. Make sure you smooth out the peat moss.
Digging the holes. Other than the grafted tomatoes, your seedlings should be planted with about 90 % of the plant above the soil level. Make sure the graft line on grafted seedlings is ABOVE the soil level.
After you have dug the hole please add Mycos which is a root enhancer that will assist with the root development. Directions are on the package.
Then gently place the plant in the hole seal it up, stake it and water.
Water tip #1 - Do not water the leaves and make sure you create a basin around the plant as wide as the width branch so that the roots will grow to the availability of the water.
Water tip #2 - As the plant grows use a bamboo stick or handle of garden tool and at the outer edge of the leaves make an 8-10 inch hole deep or more depending on the size of the plant--straight down around the outside of the plant at 10 inch intervals.
Then add Marine Cuisine Fertilizer to the holes and water. This will liquefy fertilizer and get it delivered to the roots directly without dribbling through the soil.
This enables the root system get the nourishment and the maximum benefit of the fertilizer. And healthier tomato plant. Fertilize with Marine Cuisine as needed based on instructions on the bag.
Make sure to cut any branches that touch or close to the soil so fruits is not susceptible to rotting and insect or disease damage.
These instructions are for planting in the ground, raised beds or large pots. Now you can stake the plants and very shortly provide tomato cages for plant support.
I plant dwarf and determinate tomatoes in pots as it is easier to grow and maintain.
Remember that tomatoes ripen at night so if you notice in the AM that some tomatoes have bites from rats/squirrels/whatever; it’s an indication that the fruits is turning color (especially red tomatoes) in the evening/night and the rodents are attracted to the red color for a meal. Solution—pick in the evening.
What plants to buy? It depends on the environment where you live. Most nurseries carry a variety of tomato seedling plants that are compatible with your environment conditions.
Below is a list of tomato plants that I grew this year and an aerial view of my vegetable garden. I grew 30 plants- half in containers, half in raised beds. This is quite a variety which makes it more fun!!
SUB ARTIC PLENTY
BUSH EARLY GIRL
HEIRLOOM MARRIAGE CHEROKEE
SUPER SWEET 100
SAN FRANCISCO FOG
BERKELEY TIE DYE
Here are the results of this effort!