Tomatoes are among most popular the easiest garden plants to grow. Here are ten tips to starting healthy and high producing plants
1. Choose disease resistant heirloom varieties and only buy from reputable garden centers. If you decide to shop online make sure company is reputable and will allow you to return any damaged plants.
2. Choose plants with dark healthy leaves and thick stems. Long lanky stems are signs that they either grew too fast or they didn’t get enough sunlight during early growth.
3. Make certain the tomatoes receive are planted in full sun. They need at least hours of direct sunlight each day and prefer more than that. Make sure to remove rocks and weeds from the seed bed.
4. Plant them beside a sturdy fence, pole or in a quality tomato cage.
5. Plant the tomatoes when the soil temperature rises above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Place them about 4 feet apart if you do not have a fence or tomato cage. If you are using a fence or tomato cage the space can be reduced to 1-2 feet apart.
6. Remove all but the uppermost leaves of your tomato plant, then plant the entire stem, leaving only the leaves above ground.
7. Pour one gallon of water in the planting hole and top dress the hole with about a tablespoon of dried kelp powder. Make certain to spread it around the hole and not just dump it all in the bottom. The water guarantees that the plant stays well hydrated and the kelp will help give the plants a healthy boost.
8. Place the plant so the leafy part of it is next to the fence, pole or inside the cage then cover the entire stem with soil.
9. Sprinkle another tablespoon of kelp along the area where you planted the tomato stem and dust with diatomaceous earth around the base of the tomato to prevent cutworm damage.
10. Water a second time with another gallon of water. If your soil is sufficiently warm enough, mulch around plants to conserve moisture and to prevent diseases in the soil from splashing up from the soil when it rains or when you water.
Water the plants regularly and keep the vines tied to the fence, pole or the cage and look forward to a terrific tomato crop.