PINE GROVE, PA – Tomato plants, particularly those of the indeterminate variety, have a longstanding reputation in the gardening community for “growing like weeds.” While growing tomato plants seems easy to do, growing healthy tomato plants can present more of a challenge. In early April, team members at Solar Innovations began growing a variety of organic tomato seeds in the campus greenhouse. Starting seeds in a greenhouse gets the plants off to a strong start without risking early exposure to frost, insects, and varmints. By late May, it was time to transplant these healthy seedlings to the outdoor garden.
When it comes time to transplant your tomato plants, it is important to have an area of fertile soil prepared. Adding organic matter such as compost to the planting area will help improve plant growth and health. It is recommended to plant the root ball and stem into the ground just beyond the first stem of leaves. The entire length of the buried stem will shoot out roots, creating a stronger root system, and consequently, a healthier plant.
After planting the tomatoes, give them a good soaking. Tomato plants will need at least 1 inch of water a week. Soaker hoses on a timer are a perfect way to ensure your plants are being regularly watered around the base of the stem. Spraying the entire plant each watering can cause fungal growth on the leaves and lead to a variety of diseases, such as blight and Septoria leaf spot.
Growing tomatoes outdoors can sometimes seem like a constant battle against nature. At some point in the growing season, you will encounter too much rain, too little rain, excessive heat, insects, diseases, and depending on your location, hungry deer, rabbits and groundhogs. Starting seeds in a climate-controlled greenhouse gets your tomato plants off to a healthy start and gives them the best chance for a productive outdoor growing season. Many choose to skip growing outdoors altogether and will garden exclusively in their greenhouse, allowing them to have complete control over the environmental conditions.
For more information on greenhouses, greenhouse accessories, or any other Solar Innovations® products, please contact Solar Innovations® directly at [email protected] or call 800 618 0669.