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Information for Gardeners

Tomatoes

Veseys Home » Growing Vegetables »  Tomatoes

Lycopersicon lycopersicum

Planting:

Tomatoes are tender plants and are very susceptible to frost damage. Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Sow 2-3 seeds in 1x1" cells and thin to 1 plant after germination. Cover seed with ¼" soil and provide a constant soil temperature of 21-26°C (70-80°F). Once plants are up, a growing light is necessary or seedlings will become tall and spindly. After plants develop 1-2 sets of true leaves, transplant into 3x3" or 4x4" pots. Use a water soluble fetilizer every two weeks starting at half strength and increasing to full strength over 6 weeks. Seedlings benefit from waterings with Epsom salts, use 1 Tbsp of Epsom salts per gallon. Transplant after all danger of frost has passed. When transplanting , space 24-36" apart with rows at least 36-48" apart.

Growing:

Full sun location, preferably with good air circulation. Soil pH of 6.0-6.5. Heavy feeders, prefer a warm, well drained soil of good fertility and cultivation. Add plenty of compost and well rotted manure prior to planting. Feed regularly during the growing season with a compost tea or well balanced fertilizer. Avoid excessive nitrogen, particularly before fruit set. Provide even moisture during fruit set and development. Excessive watering can increase fruit size but decrease flavour. Use Epsom salts to improve growth, mix 2 Tbsp/gallon of water and feed to plants every other watering.

Harvest:

Pick fruit when fruit is firm and turning red. Overripe tomatoes rot quickly.

Pests & Diseases:

Protect from cutworms by using protective collars around the plant stem or place cornmeal around plant base. Blossom end rot (a brownish-black, sunken dead area that forms on the bottom of the fruit) is a condition caused by a calcium deficiency due to uneven watering. Blight, another disease common to tomatoes is caused by warm, humid conditions particularly if plants have not been given some support to keep foliage off the ground. Use copper or sulphur sprays to help prevent blight. Good air circulation along with proper rotation will help to prevent onset of this harmful disease.

For an in depth look at how to manage tomato Blight, please read Tomato Blight - Everything you Need to Know

Companions:

Asparagus, basil, bush bean, cabbage family, carrot, celery, chive, cucumber, lettuce, onion, pepper.