Tomatoes are one of the most popular and easiest to grow vegetables. Diseases are seldom fatal and plants come in disease-resistant varieties. A layer of mulch can be added around the base of the plant to help conserve water, keep roots cool, suppress weed growth, and prevent soil from splashing up onto the leaves.
- Compost (Sea Soil™)
- Tomato plants
- Transplant fertilizer (Plant-Prod 10-52-10)
- Granular or slow-release fertilizer
(Plant-Prod 15-15-30, Pink, Jobe’s Fertilizer Spikes for Tomatoes, or Alaska® MorBloom)
- Choose a warm, sunny, sheltered spot that receives approximately 6 hours of sun each day before planting. If planting tomatoes outside, wait until there is little chance of frost occurring (usually towards the end of May).
- Mix compost with the top 8-10” of the soil in the area to be planted. (See product for mixing details)
- Set the plant in the ground deeper than you would another plants (leave only few top leaves sticking out from the soil’s surface), allowing the tomato plant to develop roots along its stems. If you plant it on its side, the plant will straighten up and grow towards the sun.
- Use stakes and ties or a tomato cage to keep the plants upright, allowing for easy harvesting.
- Continue planting the area, ensuring you’ve allowed enough room for proper air circulation and for plants to spread (2-4’ between plants, depending on the variety). Air circulation is important for disease prevention.
- Water plants with a transplant fertilizer to help them establish a strong root system.
- Deep (thorough) and frequent watering is required as the plant grows and establishes.
Some of the common diseases and their remedies are listed below:
- Blossom End Rot - sunken, black, rotted areas on the blossom ends of the fruit, caused by calcium deficiency in poor or heavy clay soils.
*Remedy: Feed the plant a balanced fertilizer containing calcium and maintain uniform soil moisture.
- Growth Cracking - fruit splits or cracks while on the vine, resulting from fluctuations of water, heat, or other stress factors.
*Remedy: Keep the water supply as consistent as possible throughout the season.
- Catfacing - scar-like streaks and unusual swellings on the fruit, resulting from inhibited fertilization processes due to prolonged cool weather during pollination.
*Remedy is not required; fruit is less attractive but still edible.
- Leaf Roll - curled or rolled leaves, brought on by either too much or too little watering.
*Remedy is not required; the condition does not usually affect the growth of the fruit.