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Tips and Tricks for Growing Healthy Tomatoes

August 31, 2016

A fresh homegrown tomato is one thing that experts and home gardeners alike can appreciate. Like with all crops, tomatoes have their own challenges. Here are a few tips to help you refine your tomato growing talent.

All healthy plants start off with great soil. Well-amended soil full of rich compost and organic material is essential to producing quality tomatoes. After making sure you have provided rich well-drained soil, pick a spot that receives a lot of sunlight. Make sure to plant your seedling deep and distance your plants apart to provide good air circulation around each plant. Make sure to manage how you water your tomatoes – a deep watering from a soaker hose is best. As the plants grow, be sure to support them in order to keep the weight of the fruit from breaking the plant stems.

Once it is time to harvest you tomatoes, you may notice rot on the bottom of the tomatoes. This is commonly mistaken as a disease that has infected the tomato plant. However, those spots are from tomato rot, or simply a calcium deficiency of your tomato plant. To resolve this problem, calcium can be added directly to the soil around your plant and you can purchase calcium at any hardware or garden center. To see how much calcium your soil needs, our greenhouse experts recommend conducting a soil test.

To successfully conduct an at-home soil test, follow these simple tips:

  • Gather plastic bags, a permanent marker, and a clean digging tool made of stainless steel.
  • Identify a target area to sample
  • Clear any debris from you sample area and then dig down about 6”, placing the soil in a clean plastic bag.
  • Send the sample out to your state laboratory to be tested. The tests normally take around a week and cost between $4-$6.

You can also click here to view a soil test how-to by our greenhouse expert Brian.

Once you receive your soil test results, you will be able to add the needed amount of calcium to help your tomato plants flourish.