Every year our wonderful gardening customers, from the Kanata and Richmond area, come to us for Tomato Gardening Tips. Join us as we discuss the best practices for growing and caring for your tomato plant.
If you have been keeping up with our Tomatoes 101 Series, you now know the difference between a vine and bush tomato plant, and have discovered which variety is best for your needs. Now it is time for our tips for growing and keeping your tomatoes healthy and thriving. With a little love and attention, you will be enjoying fresh tomatoes from your garden in no time!
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Growing & Caring for Your Tomatoes
Even though fruit size, color and flavor differ with each and every variety they all have a common growth requirement - Hot Hot Hot! Tomatoes need full sun which means at least 6 hours of full direct sunlight preferably midday when the sun is at its peak. The more sun they have the better growth you will see, this applies to both patio containers and tomato plants in your garden so be sure to move your container to a sunny spot during the day. Rich fertile soil amended with compost and hen manure is ideal. Hen manure contains calcium which is essential in helping to prevent blossom end rot a common tomato disease where the ends turn black.
If you are interested in growing organic then make sure your soil is healthy and amended with sea compost each season, plant seedlings with bone meal and then fertilize regularly with fish emulsion or with an organic tomato food.
Mulching tomatoes with straw is highly recommended. Straw helps prevent several blight diseases which are most often soil borne and splash up onto the leaves from the soil when watering. My friends and I lost an entire crop of tomatoes one season in our communal garden from late blight, it was heartbreaking. The next season we mulched with straw and never had the problem again.
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How Much Water & When?
Tomatoes like to have consistent watering. If they are allowed to dry out constantly between watering when they are producing fruit then they often develop big cracks in the skin. Being consistent with your water, and caring for your tomatoes, also helps prevent the plant from getting stressed so they do not become more susceptible to diseases.
Always try watering your tomato plants from below to help prevent leaf diseases. If you cannot water from below then ensure that you water your plants early in the morning when the sun isn’t as strong. This allows plants to completely dry before going into the evening.