Most gardens contain at least a couple tomato plants. These juicy fruits masquerade as vegetables in salads, soups and sauces. They prevent cancer and just plain taste yummy. They’re easy to grow. They do best when grown from a purchased plant, rather than from seeds. Here are five tips for growing great tomatoes every gardener should know.
1. Plant deep in well drained soil. Choose a sunny location. Bury the tomato plant until just the top leaves show. This will make the roots stable, strong and healthy for a bountiful harvest. Tomatoes love water, but if the soil drains poorly, fungus can be an issue. Adding sand to the soil can help. Tomatoes need at least 6 hours of full sun per day.
2. Add corn meal, molasses and garlic to prevent fungal disease. Fungus is the most common problem when growing tomatoes. Mixing composted soil half and half with cornmeal and sand can help control fungus. Dry molasses helps too. Plant garlic near the tomatoes to add flavor and control fungus further. Watch for yellowing lower leaves that spread quickly. This indicates fungal infection.
3. Plant basil and marigold nearby. Keeping bugs off tomatoes can be a challenge. Harmful pesticides get into your food and are unnecessary. Rather than using pesticides, try planting marigolds nearby. Planting basil and garlic in a ring around tomatoes adds nice flavor and keeps pests at bay. You can also buy disease resistant plants to begin with.
4. Fertilize weekly with milk, eggshells and ammonia. Tomatoes need plenty of calcium and nitrogen to stay sweet and juicy. You can sprinkle powdered milk and eggshells around the base of tomato plants. Place powdered milk, eggshells, a drop of ammonia and water in a blender to make liquid fertilizer. Use it in place of water once a week.
5. Water frequently. Tomatoes need lots of water to grow. Wait for the soil to dry between watering and drench thoroughly. Allowing the soil to dry prevents fungus from growing. If you have a plant with a fungus issue, remove it immediately to prevent the spread of disease. You will recognize late blight fungus easily. Leaves turn yellow and fruit appears discolored, even when plant is properly fertilized.