It’s debatable, but tomatoes may be the most coveted element in a summer garden. Homegrown in August vs. store bought – ever, there is no comparison. A store bought cucumber, strawberry or onion in winter is still doable, but nobody leaves the grocery store with a tomato in January feeling good about it. Since it’s tomato season again (thankfully), here are some great tips!
- Plant it Deep! Really deep! Tomatoes have an unusual gift of being able to grow roots out of their stems. The more roots, the stronger the plant.
- Pinch those Suckers! They’re called suckers for a reason. They’ll suck the energy out of the plant and never give you anything in return. Pinch them off.
- Turn the Fan on Them! If you are starting your tomatoes from seed, turning a fan on them for 5 minutes twice a day will help them develop stronger stems before you move them outside. (Who Knew?)
- Pick Nice Neighbors! Basil, garlic, onions,beans, cucumbers and marigolds are all friends with tomatoes. They help repel insects and disease. On the flipside, corn, eggplant, peppers, potatoes and broccoli will turn your garden into a warzone when planted close to your tomatoes! It’s a blight thing and they are all susceptible to it! Here’s a link from treehugger.com with a list of companions for tomatoes. http://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/12-companion-plants-grow-alongside-your-tomatoes.html
- Contain Them! Shady yard but a super sunny spot on the patio or deck? You can’t go wrong with a five gallon plastic bucket and one tomato plant. Just drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Heck, you can even turn a reusable shopping bag into a planter! Bonus tip: Avoid using clay pots – they dry out quickly and they are harder to move around to the sunny spots.
Do you have any tomato tips that you swear by and are willing to share with us? I know a few people who don’t like to share their tomato growing secrets, believe it or not!