Mama' on Tomatoes at Fall Garden Fest

Thursday, October 16, 2014
GardenMama Grows Tomatoes – and so can You! For tomato lovers, failure is not an option. Use these ideas for more success in pots and raised beds. • Set up for success o big containers, with a reservoir if possible o put in stakes and cages at planting time • Have on hand o mulch for pots during dry weather o nets and wraps to protect young plants and fruit • Serious site issues o full sun o well-drained, richly organic soil o space pots and plants for air circulation around each one • The daily walk and poke keeps you on top of growth stages and potential threats. Organic does not mean that you do nothing! • Variety matters and here are GardenMama’s favorites: o types and tastes: beefsteak, slicers and salads, cherry, pear, and grape, paste o hybrids for disease resistance ? indeterminate – SuperFantastic, Better Boy, SunSugar ? determinate – Celebrity, Patio o heirlooms for ‘old timey’ and unique tastes ? Marion, Brandywine, Arkansas Traveler ? Yellow Pear, Sweet 100’s • Water, water, water – wilted plants suffer stress and so will you • Fertilize – feed the soil AND feed the plants • Inevitable pests to watch for and prevent when possible o piercing and sucking insects – aphids and leaf miners early in season o chewing insects – stomp and squish tomato hornworms on grown plants o stinkbugs – late season, shield-shaped fruit spoilers o early blight fungus causes spotted, ruined leaves that start at bottom and move up i. take off lower leaves ii. mulch pots iii. preventative sprays • Physiological challenges o leaf curl – upwards, no problem o blossom end rot – water properly every time to avoid o cracked fruit – varieties and weather conspire here; harvest before rainstorms • Strategies for a prevent defense o new soil every year for tomatoes o Neem sprays every 7-10 days early in season o harvest with pink shoulders and ripen indoors to avoid cracking, squirrels, and birds
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