Tomatoes Tips for Success
From the Beginning
- Start tomato seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost.
- Thin seedlings and discard all weak, spindly ones.
- To learn how to grow from seed, click here.
- As seedlings grow, plant them in their own individual 2 to 4 inch pots.
- Harden-off plants 7 to 14 days before the last frost date.
- To learn more about how to grow sturdy and healthy seeds indoors, click here.
- Click here for Tomatoes Seedlings to Plants.
- Plant outside where they will receive at least 6 hours of direct sun in fertile soil with good drainage.
- Remove foliage from half, third or quarter of the stem and bury it. Roots will form along the buried stem.
- Support each plant with a cage or other sturdy support.
Pruning & taming
- Remove any foliage that touches the ground.
- Pinch out suckers before they get too big.
- Keep plants properly staked as they continue to grow.
- For overly long stems that have escaped their support, cut back to a leaf, flower cluster or a tomato.
- To tame and to encourage faster ripening cut overly long stems and ones that have escaped their support, to a leaf, flowers or a tomato.
- Water well after pruning.
- Don't prune plants if they are wilting due to lack of water.
- Snip off the ends of all the stems just above tomatoes clusters approximately a month before the first frost date in your area. This encourages the remaining fruit to ripen.
Watering & Fertilizing
- Maintain consistent soil moisture to prevent split fruit and blossom end rot.
- Keep water off the plant; just apply it to the ground.
- Thoroughly water the soil around the plant, especially when it's dry.
- Avoid giving tomatoes too much nitrogen. It results in huge plants with low yields. It also encourages tender growth prone to insects and diseases.
- To learn more about fertilizers click here.
- Remove any nasty fruit and foliage asap and discard.
- Harvest often, as overripe fruit encourages diseases and insects.
- Don't touch plants when they are wet.
- Water in the morning. Plants should not be wet at dusk.
- Keep water off the foliage.
- Remove any leaves that touch the ground.
- Space plants at least 2 feet apart.
- Grow disease resistant varieties.
- Click here for more on Tomato Troubles.
- Harvest frequently but only when plants are dry.
- Don’t keep any damaged or diseased fruit.
- Keep tomatoes on the kitchen counter, not the fridge.
- Before digging up plants, harvest green tomatoes. Place them on the kitchen counter or place in a paper bag with an apple to encourage ripening.