How to grow…Tomatoes

We purchased the following Tomato seeds:

  • Tiny Tim Cherry Tomato
  • Tumbling Tom Tomato
  • Sweet Heart Tomato

In keeping with the theme of following instructions, I found these general guidelines for growing Tomatoes:

Planting

  • Tomatoes are tender plants and are very susceptible to frost damage. Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date in your area.
  • Sow 2-3 seeds in 1×1″ cells and thin to 1 plant after germination. Cover seed with ¼” soil and provide a constant soil temperature of 21-26°C (70-80°F).
  • Once plants are up, a growing light is necessary or seedlings will become tall and spindly.
  • After plants develop 1-2 sets of true leaves, transplant into 3×3″ or 4×4″ pots. Use a water soluble fetilizer every two weeks starting at half strength and increasing to full strength over 6 weeks.
  • Seedlings benefit from waterings with Epsom salts, use 1 Tbsp of Epsom salts per gallon.
  • Transplant after all danger of frost has passed. When transplanting , space 24-36″ apart with rows at least 36-48″ apart.

Growing

  • Full sun location, preferably with good air circulation. Soil pH of 6.0-6.5. Heavy feeders, prefer a warm, well drained soil of good fertility and cultivation.
  • Add plenty of compost and well rotted manure prior to planting.
  • Feed regularly during the growing season with a compost tea or well balanced fertilizer.
  • Avoid excessive nitrogen, particularly before fruit set.
  • Provide even moisture during fruit set and development.
  • Excessive watering can increase fruit size but decrease flavour.
  • Use Epsom salts to improve growth, mix 2 Tbsp/gallon of water and feed to plants every other watering.

Harvest

  • Pick fruit when fruit is firm and turning red. Overripe tomatoes rot quickly.

Pests & Diseases

  • Protect from cutworms by using protective collars around the plant stem or place cornmeal around plant base. Blossom end rot (a brownish-black, sunken dead area that forms on the bottom of the fruit) is a condition caused by a calcium deficiency due
    to uneven watering.
  • Blight, another disease common to tomatoes is caused by warm, humid conditions particularly if plants have not been given some support to keep foliage off the ground.
  • Use copper or sulphur sprays to help prevent blight.
  • Good air circulation along with proper rotation will help to prevent onset of this harmful disease.

Companions

  • Asparagus
  • Basil
  • Bush bean
  • Cabbage family
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Chive
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Pepper.
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