Want to have one or two truly spectacular tomato plants? You know the kind of eye-poppers that help establish bag yard garden bragging rights? Well it can be done with a little extra work and cooperation from Mother Nature.
Of course, here in Zone 6 it’s far too early to think about planting tomatoes in the garden, the air and soil have to warm up considerably first. But the time is just right to prepare the soil.
First of all, dig wide and deep. The object is to give the root system all the loose, rich soil it can use to develop. A great root system feeds great above ground growth, productivity and terrific tomato yields. For these “special” plants dig down a minimum of 2 feet and if the hole is circular, thirty inches or more is good.
Remove the soil and run it through your half inch sifter along with generous contributions from the compost pile, a few hardwood ashes for extra potassium, crushed egg shells for calcium and a cup of Epsom salt for magnesium. Do not add nitrogen fertilizers, this is the nutrient least needed by tomato plants and when overdone can cause the vines to consist of all leaves and no tomatoes.
If working with ashes, eggshells and Epsom salt is not your cup of tea specially blended tomato fertilizers are available; Tomato Tone is one which fits the bill, there are many others and they are widely available. Be sure to add compost, however, there is no substitute for black gold.
Refill the hole and allow the extra material to form a mound, it will settle in the weeks before you plant the tomatoes. Every few days run a rake or hoe over the exposed soil atop the hole to prevent any weeds from taking root.
When it is time to plant the transplants be sure to plant them deeper than the current soil level in the put. Bury the plant all the way up to the first set of leaves. Roots will develop from all up and down the buried stem, again fueling plant growth.
As a side note, since you are going for impressive size in both plant and yield, always go with indeterminate or vining types of tomato plants. They will grow taller and fuller, and yield more tomatoes than the determinate varieties.
It is a good idea to insert the stakes – two at least, three are better – at the same time you plant the transplants. This will eliminate the possibility of damaging the root later on. The stakes should extend as far above ground as you can reach up to and work.
Never use cord or twine to connect the plants, only use broad strips of cloth, perhaps torn from a no longer useful sheet.
When the weather really heats up, pull any opportunistic weeds and mulch the plants, perhaps with sifted compost. This will help to control moisture and temperature. Do not allow the plants to dry out between rains; this will cause developing tomatoes to crack.
Every 3 weeks give the plants a foliar spray of fish emulsion.
Many gardeners pinch off the excessive suckers that develop on plants as they grow. This diverts the plants energy to growing tomatoes, not greenery. This is a valid technique but use it sparingly, plants still need to pick up energy from the sun and they do this through the leaves.
Follow these tips and with good weather and gardeners luck, you could be the neighborhood tomato king or queen.
Like what you see and want to come back? Just click “+ subscribe”, it’s easy and anonymous!