Garden Garden Sense

Tomato Planting Guide #Garden Sense

tomato plant

Everyone loves a ripe, juicy tomato plucked fresh from the garden.

Now is the time to get the best prices on tomato and pepper plants before they get too big to be good producers. Choose these plants when they are 6 to 8 inches in height. Taller plants have already started the flower producing cycle which means less energy is available to establish good root production.

Tomato and Tips

1. Avoid leggy plants and plants with yellow leaves.
Leggy plants indicate the plant was light starved and produces a thinner, less stable trunk.

2. Avoid plants already in flower.
Their energy is already going to producing fruit a bit too early. If you purchase these plants, remove the flowers to give plants a chance to grow strong.

3. Cracking the tomato code:
Most varieties are coded with a VF, VFN or VFNT behind their cultivar name. These letters stand for their bred-in resistance to disease.
VF = Fusarium and Verticillium
N = nematodes
T = tobacco mosaic

4.Remember tomatoes are vines and need support.
Plants allowed to touch the ground are more susceptible to disease, breakage and insect attack. Stake or cage tomatoes for extra support.

5. Try to rotate where you plant your tomatoes and peppers.
Keep new plants away from where last years crop might have depleted the soil or soilborne insects or pathogens may still exist.

6. Tomatoes and peppers need even watering.
Too much water opens the door for fungal issues. Too little water causes plant stress. Try to water deeply in the morning at ground level and only enough water that the ground will absorb.

7. Don’t rule out Patio tomatoes. These varieties are bred to do best in containers.

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Cindy's Recipes and Writings

As a professional cook, I love creating exciting new recipes on the job as well as at home. Assisting in teaching low-income families how to buy, store and prepare healthy food through Penn State’s alliance with Pennsylvania’s Supercupboard Program was very rewarding. During my 11 years with the Master Gardener program, I taught horticultural therapy to assisted living patients using healthful, fr
esh grown food as a focal point. . My hands-on programs and instruction helped hundreds of children and adults learn about where their food comes from and how important fresh food is for your body.
Currently I’m a cook at a college in Pennsylvania. We prepare everything we can from scratch, including our potato chips that tout the seasoning of the day!
Of course I write about food; it's in my blood!

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