Great tips for planting the most popular garden veggie
Everyone wants to have lovely plump tomates growing in their backyard.
Kids just love picking these and will more likely eat them too.
Want to improve your chances of getting the perfect crop?
1. Start with seeds.
Buying and setting out transplants is the easiest way to grow tomatoes. But to explore the many distinctive varieties available, start seeds indoors.?Six to eight weeks before the last frost, sow seeds in pots filled with seed-starting or potting mix. When the seedlings sprout two sets of leaves, transplant them into bigger containers.
2. Seek the heat.
Seedlings need lots of light and heat. Put them in a sunny window, or 4 to 6 inches under an artifical light, to encourage stout stems. To prepare for transplanting, set them outside for a few hours daily in early spring. When temperatures stay above 55, it?s time to plant.
3. Show your support.
To help keep your tomatoes clean and disease-free, provide plenty of support with stakes, trellises or cages. Vining (also known as ?indeterminate?) tomatoes will grow until killed by frost. Keep them off the ground with at least a 5- to 8-foot-tall cage or a trellis. Bush varieties (known as ?determinate? tomatoes) are especially good choices for containers or small spaces. Use small stakes or cages.
4. Know your dirt.
Tomatoes grow well in soils with a slightly acidic pH level of 5.8 to 7, but they adapt nicely to slightly alkaline soils, too. If your soil is sandy or claylike, work in 2 to 3 inches of compost. Have your soil tested and follow the recommendations for best results.
5. Quench their thirst.
The best thing for tomatoes is consistent watering. This helps prevent leaf-end roll, blossom-end rot and ?cat facing??those misshapen cracks you sometimes see on the stem end of the fruit. Give tomatoes at least an inch of water a week. Water in the morning to help prevent disease and leaf burn. And don?t water the leaves.
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