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7 Things About Growing Tomatoes Every Gardener Needs To Know

Growing tomatoes is not difficult, but they do have some unique qualities that are helpful to understand.

Understanding these 7 facts about tomatoes will help you be a better gardener.

1. TOMATO PLANTS COME IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES.

If you’ve never grown tomatoes, then you might be surprised at how large and unwieldy the plant can be.

The growth habit of tomatoes varies from a tiny little tomato tree less than a foot tall (micro-dwarf) to a 6 feet long or more tomato vine (indeterminate).

The growth habit of tomatoes can also be largely influenced by environmental factors like heat, water, pest, or disease stress. And, obviously, pruning and tying up also affect how they grow.

2. TOMATO LEAVES CAN BE POTATO OR REGULAR SHAPED.

The regular leaf has a rippled, serrated edge whereas the potato leaf has a smooth edge, not curiously resembling the leaves of a potato plant.

The potato type leaf is caused by a naturally occurring genetic mutation and has occurred many times with many different tomato varieties.

Some will say the potato leaf is more disease resistant, but this is an anecdotal observation and not a scientific certainty. There are lots of diseases cause problems with the leaves of tomato plants and both leaf types are equally susceptible.

The leaf type really has no effect on how the tomato grows, produces, or tastes.

3. BURYING THE STEM AT PLANTING HELPS CREATE A STRONGER ROOT SYSTEM.

Because tomatoes will grow roots from their stem, burying the stem creates a stronger root system.

Make sure to remove leaves from the buried portion of the stem before planting and leave at least 2 or 3 sets of leaves above ground.

You can either dig a deep hole to set them in or lay them sideways…don’t worry, they’ll adjust themselves naturally to grow upright.

4. TOMATOES OFTEN SUFFER FROM BLOSSOM END ROT.

Blossom end rot is an environmental condition where calcium is restricted within the fruit and a black mushy spot on the bottom appears. The mushy spot is due to lack of calcium within the cell walls on the blossom end of the fruit.

Once this starts happening, it’s too late for affected tomatoes. They won’t be edible. Which is very, very sad. They are not diseased, however, and can be added to compost or fed to your farm animals.

At the point you see the blossom end rot, it is difficult to treat and should get better on its own as the season progresses.

5. TOMATOES ARE CONSIDERED HEAVY FEEDERS IN THE GARDEN.

Tomato plants need fertile nutrient rich soil to make tomatoes. Most gardens will need fertilization to maintain adequate nutrition for a season of tomatoes.

It is very important to amend the soil early in the season and apply organic fertilizer as often as twice monthly. Employ a crop rotation plan to alternate locations of your tomato garden from year to year. This will greatly help minimize pest and disease issues.

6. TOMATOES DON’T GROW WELL WITH POTATOES.

Tomatoes and potatoes are closely related, and they are both heavy feeders.

Planted together the two are difficult to manage because they can spread disease from one to the other, attract the same pests, and compete for nutrients in the soil.

Plant potatoes more than 6 feet away from tomatoes if possible for the best results.

7. TOMATOES LOVE TO BE PLANTED WITH BASIL.

Tomatoes are pretty friendly in the garden but love growing with basil as well as other herbs. Growing basil with tomatoes is said to make them sweeter. Carrots, onions, and chives are also good compantion plants for tomatoes.

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