We are always haunted by the memory of that homemade tomato (семена на домати момини сълзи), fresh from the plant, that we took a bite out of in Grandpa’s garden – Momini sulzi (Lily of the valley).
That joy of biting into a fresh, flavorful tomato instead of bland grocery store fruit has inspired many hobby gardeners to grow their own.
That’s the advantage of growing them in your yard, you can go out there and pick them when they’re bright, red, juicy and full of flavor and eat them right away,“ says VanVranken, noting that New Jersey is famous for its tomatoes. That’s due, in part, to the Rutgers hybrid tomato developed in the 1930s, which was so flavorful it was used in Campbell’s tomato soup and colloquially known as „Jersey tomato.“
There is more advice in the books and on the web for growing tomatoes than for any other crop, but VanVranken and other experts say not to be intimidated.
The best advice if you want to know how to grow pink tomatoes – grow them yourself is not to worry too much,“ says VanVranken. „Tomato plants are quite tolerant and easy to grow.
You can grow them in the garden, in raised beds, in containers, or even in straw bales, according to John LeHoullier, a North Carolina tomato grower, chemist by trade, and the author of Epic Tomatoes and a book on straw bale gardening. . This year he will grow 60 tomato plants in his home garden, roughly half the “large” number he grew last year.
LeHoullier admits that tomatoes, like roses, can be a bit picky, but „it’s a perfect hobby for someone who really wants to be in the garden and enjoy it.“
If you’re ready to take on tomatoes, here are tips for producing that delicious summer treat you remember.
1. You have to know what you are growing. Tomatoes can be determinate (that is, compact and bushy) or indeterminate (vines, which can climb up to 8 feet tall). The type that is planted will determine how to support the plant. Pasta or plum tomatoes, such as Roma, are usually determined and tend to ripen in a short period, about two weeks. Indeterminate tomatoes, including most of the older varieties such as Brandywine, continue to grow and produce until the winter season.
2. Choose heirloom or hybrid tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes (or heirloom tomatoes) are varieties that can be reproduced from their own seed. Right now they are all the rage, particularly among seed collectors like LeHoullier. He estimates there are 10,000 tomato varieties, and as a member of the Seed Savers Exchange, he has collected seeds for about half of them. Hybrids are a cross of varieties and cannot be duplicated from their own seed. They were developed to be more resistant to diseases and pests, explains VanVranken. Both have their advantages, growers say, and hybrids are nothing short of inferior.
3. Adapt your tomatoes to your garden. How much sunlight tomatoes need depends on their size, LeHoullier says. „Large beefsteak-type tomatoes probably benefit from having six to eight hours of direct sun a day, but as the size of the tomato decreases, the amount of sun it needs to be happy also decreases,“ he says.
If you only get three hours of sunlight in your yard, try growing cherry tomatoes in a container. If you are going to buy tomato plants, buy them locally. Big stores have likely bought the tomato plants from regional growers, making them suitable for your area, says VanVranken.
4. Sow deeply. Tomatoes have roots along their stems, says Elizabeth Casteel, „the tomato lady“ from Spokane, Washington, who this year grew 6,000 tomato plants – whom she calls her „babies“ – that she sells in her garden. barely half an acre. When she transfers the seedlings to gallon-size pots, she places them as deep as possible and leaves only a couple of leaves above the ground. “I cover the leaves that are [buried], because they will compost… I don’t pluck them,” she says, adding some finely crushed eggshells to provide calcium and prevent fungal wilt, a disease caused by invasive mold and fungi.
5. Support them. Gardening catalogs and YouTube experts offer all kinds of ways to support tomato vines, from stakes to cages, ropes and fancy trellises. Rutgers has instructions for a stake and weave system thatIt is used by commercial growers and it is adaptable for hobby gardeners who are willing to put in the time. Whichever system you choose, removing plants from the ground can increase yield by 30% because you will avoid soil-borne diseases, explains VanVranken.
Woman pruning some tomato plants
JOHNNYGREIG / GETTY IMAGES
6. To prune or not to prune your plants. Excess budding on the sides causes fruit to bunch up, especially if you’re using support cages, says VanVranken. And many growers prune the lower branches so that the leaves that attract pests or fungi from the soil do not grow. But if you put stakes, pruning may be less important, she says, because the branches will fall on their own.
Or, skip the pruning and just plant more tomatoes, suggests Casteel. Don’t worry about pruning in your garden. „With 30 plants, I don’t need 500 pounds of tomatoes per plant,“ she says.
7. The water from below. All three growers say you should always water with a drip or soaker hose, not a sprinkler. „There’s not that much evaporation, and the water is right where it needs to be,“ notes Casteel. The goal is to reduce the amount of standing water on the leaves and make them less attractive to pathogens, VanVranken adds.
„The best advice if you grow [tomatoes] is not to worry too much,“ says VanVranken. „Tomato plants are quite tolerant and easy to grow.“
8. Fertilize consciously. There are probably as many kinds of tomato fertilizers as there are varieties of the fruit. Beware of excess nitrogen, says VanVranken, as the plants will not produce the flowers they need to fruit.
Casteel plants his tomatoes in Pro-Mix, a soil with a fungal additive called mycorrhiza that helps plants absorb nutrients. He also adds seaweed meal, alfalfa meal, steamed bone meal, compost from worms, and Epsom salts. „We grow our tomatoes organically, however when I run out of space in the garden, and need to go to a container, I use Miracle-Gro [fertilizer],“ he says.
It can be challenging to keep a potted plant fertilized, because frequent watering filters out the nutrients. „You really need to do an [application] at half concentration every two weeks, or even a quarter concentration, and that keeps them happier,“ says Casteel.
9. Beware of pest sprays. All three growers stop using sprays once the plant bears fruit. Pay attention to the tomato worm, a large green caterpillar, VanVranken warns. By paying close attention, you can remove them before they do a lot of damage. „They can cause significant damage to a tomato plant and also bite the fruit,“ he says. „They end up being a great example of how you can achieve biological control in your garden.“ If you see a hornworm with little white pods sticking out of its back, leave it alone, he says; the pods are the cocoons of a parasitic wasp, and when the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the entrails of the caterpillar.
Aphids are another pest. They can reproduce quickly and suck the nutrient-rich fluids out of tomato leaves. Clemson University Cooperative Extension warns that overuse of nitrogen fertilizers can help them. The extension service has a fact sheet on aphid control, which includes tips ranging from specific mulch to biological controls, such as lacewing eggs and parasitic wasps.
Susan Moeller contributes articles on lifestyle, health, finance, and human interest topics. She was a reporter and editor for several newspapers; she also writes articles and essays for The Boston Globe Magazine and for her local NPR station, among other outlets.
The tomato is a plant native to Peru, cultivated in Mexico first by the Maya and then by the Aztecs. In the last 200 years it has become one of the most important vegetable crops, many varieties have been selected to cultivate, adapting the plant to the most disparate climates and soils.
It is a vegetable that cannot be missing in any good home garden, so here we are to give you some tips on how to grow tomatoes. As always, we consider growing our vegetables in compliance with organic farming, i.e. without using synthetic chemical insecticides but with natural defense methods. The aim is to obtain healthy and sustainable vegetables, we will see how to do it below.
From the cherry tomato to the ox heart, from the classic sauce tomato to the extravagant black tomatoes, we are talking about a vegetable that never gets tired, thanks to its many varieties and the thousand uses it finds in the kitchen. The satisfaction of eating a tomato picked directly from your own plant will pay off all the agricultural work required, so let’s see how to best cultivate this vegetable in an organic garden.
The right soil and climate for tomatoes
Fertilization of tomato
How tomatoes are sown
Sixth of implant
Plant the seedlings
Grow the tomato
Build the supports and tie the tomato
Tomato pruning and flaking
How much to water the tomato
Adversity of the tomato
Diseases of the tomato
Physiopathies of the tomato
Insects and parasites of the tomato
The tomato varieties
The right soil and climate for tomatoes
Ground. The ideal soil for growing tomatoes is with a ph = 6, the soil must be fairly loose and draining, free from stagnant water that would favor plant diseases. Furthermore, to obtain a good harvest, the soil must be rich in nutrients and organic matter. In fact, tomatoes are quite a greedy vegetable.
Climate. Even if fairly cold-resistant types of tomato have been selected, it is still a plant that can stand frost, and above all that requires excellent sun exposure. Tomatoes can be grown practically all over Italy, as long as you have a sun-kissed plot. The plant also fears excessive dryness, which can be limited by mulching and irrigation.
Fertilization of tomato
Fertilizing tomato is very important for a good harvest, especially if the soil has already been cultivated previously. The most important contribution of organic matter is the „basic fertilization“: it consists in putting the fertilizer in the preparatory working phase of the soil.
As a quantity we calculate 0.6 kg of pelleted organic fertilizer per square meter, 10 times as much if it is manure or mature compost. Given the choice, it is always better to use mature manure rather than pellets, since by adding more substance, the soil is fine, improving its structure. If the production is scalar, it is possible to intervene during the work with fertilization additions, also intervening with water-soluble organic products such as ox blood or borlande (residues from beet processing).
READ MORE: FERTILIZING TOMATOES
How tomatoes are sown
Sow the tomato plants. The tomato should be sown in the seed tray, between February and March, the seed germinates in about a week. It must be placed in a warm environment: it takes about 24 degrees to germinate. It then requires at least 13 degrees to grow. The tomato is a plant that is sensitive to temperature rather than to the hours of light. You can learn more about the topic by reading the advice of Orto Da Coltivare on the sowing of tomatoes.
Sixth of implant
To decide at what distance to transplant the tomato seedlings, you need to know if the plant has a specific habit (it stops growing when it reaches a certain size, so it does not require supports) or an indeterminate habit (supports must be prepared). Vegetable tomatoes usually have indeterminate growth and are made in rows 70 cm apart (50 cm along the row between one plant and the other), it is convenient to arrange the supports horizontally (make two rows in pairs, the supports cross at the top , where they are tied, in this way the support gains stability and a part never undergoes trauma to the roots. Plants with a determined habit are transplanted in rows 120 cm apart and 70 cm on the row, the distance is greater because they have a horizontal development .
READ MORE: HOW TO SOW TOMATOES
BUY ORGANIC TOMATO SEEDS
Plant the seedlings
Tomato transplantation: from sowing in seedbeds it is then passed into pots, up to the pre-flowering stage. At this point you can transplant, as long as the minimum temperatures are at least 10 degrees. The flowers need at least 13 degrees to attach, otherwise there is a fruitless drop. The transplant in the pre-flowering phase, whenthe plants are about 30 cm high, it allows you to arrange the seedlings with the flowers facing the outside of the flower bed, so all the flowers will emerge from that side and harvesting will be very convenient.
READ MORE: TRANSPLANTING THE PLANTS
Grow the tomato
To successfully cultivate tomato plants in the vegetable garden you need to have some precautions: prepare the right supports, keep weeds at bay, do not lack water with irrigation as needed and prune the plants correctly by removing the tomato and trimming it. right height.
Build the supports and tie the tomato
To prevent the tomato plant from lying down as it grows, or worse, breaking under the weight of the fruit, it is very important to arrange supports. The possibilities are many and if we turn to different gardens we can discover many different DIY scaffolding.
For varieties with determined growth, a simple vertical pole driven into the ground is sufficient, but in many cases it is better to build more complex structures.
The important thing is to ensure that the plant stands upright and sunny in all its parts. In addition to making the stakes, remember to tie the tomato stem as it grows, which is often overlooked.
READ MORE: STRUCTURES AND GUARDS FOR TOMATOES
Tomato pruning and flaking
Pruning of axillary shoots. The tomato plant produces sprouts in the armpit of the various leaves, also called cacchi or sissies. These should be cut close to the base as soon as possible (with the leaves or even with the nail), because they disperse the energy of the plant. The same goes for suckers that grow at the base. Females or suckers of a certain size can be used to reproduce the plant by cutting, so that later tomatoes will be obtained. The cut axillaries can be left at the foot of the plants so as not to impoverish the soil. If the soil has too much nitrogen, females can also be born from the clusters of flowers and from the veins of the leaves.
Topping. The tomato must be left to grow until September, then the central shoot is topped off, letting the plant concentrate on the height reached rather than lengthening further. Specified growth varieties should not be topped.
READ MORE: THE FEMINELLING
How much to water the tomato
It is not easy to give correct information on how much water a crop needs, certainly the tomato is a vegetable that has a fair amount of water.
For greenhouse cultivation, tomatoes need 1,400 liters per square meter, in the vegetable garden it naturally depends on the climate and the soil.
On average, 600 – 900 liters are enough, including those that fall like rain. To get an idea, you can consider one millimeter of rain = 1 liter of water per square meter. If it does not rain, it usually gets wet once / twice a week, abundantly but without letting it stagnate.
The tomato is a vegetable that is well fertilized and generally leaves a residual fertility that can be exploited by less demanding plants. After the tomato, leguminous plants (such as broad beans, chickpeas, peas, beans) can be cultivated even without basic fertilization, or liliaceae (garlic or onion).
Adversity of the tomato
The tomato plant can be prey to some insects and above all it is subject to various diseases and physiopathies, which is why organic farming requires careful cultivation practice that can prevent problems, as well as constant monitoring that allows for timely interventions.
Diseases of the tomato
If fungal diseases occur, it is good to remember that the plants must be burned or thrown in the garbage and must not be used for composting or left on the ground. In addition, the spores of diseases such as tomato blight or fusarium can remain in the soil and hit the garden again in the following years, which is why crop rotation is important. In organic horticulture, prevention is essential: if you create the conditions for a healthy garden, you can avoid resorting to treatments.
Downy mildew. This disease is recognized by the yellowing of the leaves, looking up against the light you can see different densities in the yellowed leaf. The color then changes to brownish and is transmitted in patches on the stem and fruit. On tomato fruits, downy mildew manifests itself in spots in concentric circles. It usually strikes from mid-August, due to night humidity and temperatures. To combat it, Bordeaux mixture, copper oxychloride or in any case organic products based on copper are used, although good prevention can reduce the use of fungicide.
FIND OUT MORE
Learn more about tomato blight. One of the worst diseases in the vegetable garden, let’s find out how to stem and defeat this pathogen.
Alternaria. Another fungal disease that affects the tomato and like downy mildew begins with a yellowing of the leaves, egr then manifest in dark spots and rot in fruits. The rot can be found in any part of the fruit, thus it is distinguished from the apical rot, which is instead a physiopathy. Alternaria in organic farming always contrasts with copper treatments.
Fusarium and verticillium. Tomato fusarium causes rapid death of plants, which dry out after wilting. Opening the stem, the black capillaries can be seen, a sign of infection. The affected plant must be eliminated promptly, otherwise the disease spreads rapidly throughout our tomato crop.
Rhizottonia or pitium. Fungal disease that affects tomatoes, carrots and parsley, acts when there is high humidity and temperatures of at least 20 degrees, affects the plant at the collar and roots. To avoid it, it is advisable to disinfect the sowing soil and the garden soil with copper.
Bacteriosis. When the tomato is affected by bacteria, small dots appear on the leaves and a growth arrest, copper can cure this problem, not being irreversible like the fungal diseases.
READ MORE: TOMATO DISEASES
Physiopathies of the tomato
Unlike diseases, physiopathies are problems due to abnormal environmental conditions, restoring the correct situation can save the plant. We see the main symptoms that something in the climate or in the ground is not going right.
Apical rot. It manifests itself as a black spot on the fruit, it mainly affects the elongated varieties and is jokingly called the „black ass of the tomato“. Apical rot is generally due to lack of water, it can also be due to too much nitrogen or potassium in the soil. This is one of the most common physiopathies, it can be explored by reading the article dedicated to apical rot.
FIND OUT MORE
Recognizing, preventing and resolving apical rot. Let’s go into the causes and remedies of the „black ass“ of tomatoes.
Tomato canning. It happens that the fruit is soft and withered because the development of the placenta stops. This phenomenon is called boxing and is due to a sudden shortage of water.
Not staining. With temperatures above 35 degrees, the production of lycopene stops, so the tomato does not take on color. Fruit canning often occurs at the same time.
Drop some flowers. The flowers dry out and fall off without producing fruit. It generally occurs for climatic reasons (too cold, too hot), but it also happens due to states of suffering of the plant or lack of pollination of the flowers.
FIND OUT MORE
How come the flowers of tomatoes fall. Let’s find out why tomato flowers can dry out and fall off.
Splitting of the fruit. The tomato thickens the skin in case of drought, subsequent heavy rains can split the fruits.
Cracks. They are due to high humidity in the air and generally occur from the second half of August. They manifest themselves as a spider web that affects only the upper part, while the lower one remains healthy.
Sunburn. The strong sun can make the tomato fruit whitish or brownish, in the days of strong summer sun it is advisable to resort to shading nets to avoid it.
Muzzle of cat. Three dry spots that appear on the fruit at the apex are so called, due to a lack of auxin production. It occurs if too many leaves are removed from the plant, beware of vigorous pruning.
Insects and parasites of the tomato
Tomato moth, illustration by Marina Fusari
From bedbugs to aphids, let’s discover together who are the enemies of the vegetable garden that we can find on tomatoes and how to fight them without the use of toxic insecticides, but remaining in biological methods.
Aphids. These tomato lice are dangerous above all because they transmit virosis to plants, they can be recognized at first sight when they curl up the leaves. In the organic garden you can fight aphids with pyrethrum (organic insecticide) or with natural methods, such as garlic, nettle macerate or Marseille soap. The biological defense from aphids is done above all by ladybirds, tireless predators of these lice.
Elaterids. These are underground worms that attack the roots, their attack is noted by observing the unexplained decay of the plants. On Orto Da Coltivare you can learn more about how to defend yourself from elateridae in a biological way.
Night. The larvae of these moths come out of the ground at night time and eat the aerial part of the plants, they can fight with the bacillus thuringensis, to learn more you can read the defense against the nocturnes.
Tuta absoluta or tomato moth.
Colorado beetle. This beetle attacks solanaceous plants, although we find it more often on potatoes and eggplants, find advice to defend the garden from Colorado beetle.
White fly. Insect similar to aphids in action, you can read the article dedicated to the whitefly.
Bedbugs. These insects spoil the fruits of tomatoes by poking them, so it is advisable to take the necessary countermeasures, always within a biological and natural defense. To intervene with biological insecticides it is useful to find the nest, deepen by reading the remedies against bedbugs
Slugs and snails. These gastropods eat the aerial part of the plant, you can read how to defend themselves from snails with natural methods.
Mice and voles. If you have rodent problems in the field, you can learn more about the methods to remove mice from the garden.
READ MORE: TOMATO PARASITES
The tomato varieties
The tomato is a vegetable for which many varieties have been selected, the shapes of the fruit can be different (for example, pear-shaped, elongated, round, cherry) and the color of the skin (from yellow to red, with streaks of black or green ), but above all we distinguish the different varieties of tomatoes based on the type of growth of the plant. We therefore have tomatoes with determined growth (stops growing) or indeterminate (continues to grow and therefore must be topped).
Generally, the plants with a determined development are tomatoes destined for industry, while those for fresh consumption and therefore from the vegetable garden have indeterminate growth, also because they have gradual ripening and are therefore better to cover the consumption needs of the family garden, in which the goal is to bring fresh vegetables to the table.
There are many famous tomato varieties, generally the sauce ones are distinguished from the table ones, from cherry tomatoes to pachino. Good qualities of table tomatoes are for example marmande, ox heart and carmelo.
To help you choose which tomato varieties to sow in your garden, I wrote an article that describes some interesting and recommended tomato varieties. If you don’t know what type of tomato to plant, you can take a look at it.
Preserving tomato seeds from one year to the next could be a good idea: it allows you to preserve a variety and avoid having to buy tomatoes every season. The important thing is to start with non-hybrid tomatoes, more details can be found in the article on how to store tomato seeds.
The tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is probably the vegetable (or the fruit, the debate is still there!) The most cultivated in the gardens. Juicy, refreshing and tasty, tomatoes are essential in all your Mediterranean-inspired recipes. They are eaten raw or cooked.
When to plant tomatoes?
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You can start sowing tomato seeds from February. Early sowing allows you to start harvesting the fruits at the end of July.
Just get small pots and pour a layer of gravel into the first 1/3 to avoid water stagnation (which causes young roots to rot). Then add potting soil to the edge. Place 3-4 seeds in the middle of the pot and water well. Keep at a temperature of around 20 ° C.
After a week or so, you should see the germs appear. Keep babies in a well-lit place. Water regularly and add a little fertilizer (if necessary).
You can get rid of plants that are too weak or too small compared to others. When the risk of frost on the ground is removed, you can put the small tomato plants in the ground.
Growing tomatoes in the garden
Tomato plants should be spaced 50 cm apart, in rows themselves spaced 70-80 cm apart. Before transplanting a tomato plant, the 1st branch must be cut. Then it is planted so that the next leaf touches the earth.
It is a good idea to apply a mulch to the feet to conserve moisture.
For each tomato plant, provide a solid stake of about 1.5 m. It is a good idea to stretch ropes between the stakes, which will allow the stems to hang on and support the fruit well.
Growing tomatoes in pots
Tomatoes can easily be grown in pots on a balcony or patio. Just follow the same guidelines as for growing in the garden.
Note that the tomato is usually not grown indoors.
In what type of soil?
Tomatoes love soil: rich in humus, enriched with fertilizer before planting, and well-drained.
Tomatoes need a lot of sunlight throughout the day.
Water regularly in the evening at the foot of the plants: they must always remain moist, hence the advantage of applying mulch.
Avoid wetting the foliage (as much as possible).
Enrich with a fertilizer rich in potash, but low in nitrogen and phosphorus. The best way to avoid mistakes is to choose a fertilizer designed especially for tomatoes in the garden center.
All the small branches that grow on the stems are pruned, which will allow more fruit to be obtained.
At the end of summer, the leaves are partially removed to allow the sun to pass through and ripen the last fruits.
Pests and diseases to watch out for
The most common diseases affecting tomato cultivation are downy mildew, gray rot, early blight, blossom end necrosis and aphids.
When and how to harvest the tomato?
The very ripe tomato is picked as soon as it reaches its final color, which ranges from pink to bright red, passing through yellow or orange, depending on the different varieties.
Good and bad associations with the vegetable garden
Tomatoes flourish in the company of basil, mint, peppers, onions, leeks, beans and cabbage. It is also a good idea to plant certain flowers near them (nasturtiums, carnations, Indian roses) which attract aphids and other insects, which prevents them from attacking the tomato plants.
On the other hand, we keep tomatoes away from beets, eggplants, potatoes and peas.
The tomato, introduced in the 16th century, was first cultivated as an ornamental and then as a vegetable garden. With its great diversity of varieties, it is certainly today the star vegetable of our market gardens. Sow from February to April (15 seeds / m2). Plant from April to May (5 plants / m2). Harvest from July to frost (2 to 4 kg / plant).
Soil: loose, rich, warm
Spacing: 50 x 70 cm
Emergence time: – under frame, 3 or 4 days – in the ground, 5 to 8 days
Planting: April to June
Harvest: June to October
Sowing: February to May
„Marmande“: medium fruits, red, ribbed, slightly flattened. ‘Delizia’, very tasty, is an improvement of this first traditional variety.
„Orange Queen“: bright orange tomato, very fleshy, tender.
‘Rose de Berne’: a very fine pinkish-red skin, camouflaging the flesh with a sweet flavor.
‘Green Zebra’: curious tomato with tiger green skin, golden brown when ripe.
Tomato „cocktail“, „cherry“, „aperitif“ …
‘Super Sweet 100 F1’: nice clusters of very many small red fruits, juicy, very tasty.
„Mexican Honey“: cherry tomato, vermilion, with a flavor that perfectly balances the sweet and the tart.
“Yellow pear”: it’s all in the name. The pear-shaped fruits are also very sweet.
„Roma“: bunches of elongated and very fleshy fruits. The benchmark for making sauces and coulis.
„Cornue des Andes“: fleshy, comma-shaped fruits, very tasty.
‘Brandywine’: large garnet red fruit with a musky, almost spicy flavor.
„Pineapple“: this tomato owes its name to its flesh which, when sliced, evokes that of pineapple.
Crimean Black ’: huge ribbed fruits with an almost black purple skin.
At 20 ° C, in terrines, in February-March, transplant the young plants 1 month later. The first half of April, sow 3 or 4 seeds in pots, thin out without transplanting. Store at 16-18 ° C, in the light and water. Plan 3 varieties of large tomatoes according to their use, salad, coulis or to stuff.
It is possible to let the tomato plants run on the ground previously covered with straw, with a plastic film … But apart from the fact that the culture will take up more space, the maintenance will be less easy and the plant may be more sensitive to the mildew.
In April in mild regions or under shelter, around mid-May elsewhere, open holes 30 cm deep, every 60 cm, spacing the rows by 1 m. Mix compost with the earth, install a stake and then the plant by burying the base of the stem.
Install stakes, at least 1.50 m high (metal spirals, wooden pole, etc.) and dig, at their foot, a planting hole, about 10 cm deep.
Install the plants by tilting them towards the stakes so as to bury their base. This will emit new roots which, by anchoring the plant, will feed it better.
Close, tamp, water and attach the stem to the stake.
9 simple steps to have beautiful tomatoes
As usual in the vegetable garden, there is nothing very complicated: observation, common sense and a lot of discussion between enthusiasts will suffice to put the tips and tricks into practice. Prune, mulch, add a suitable fertilizer in the event of a proven deficiency, remove leaves and water wisely … all of these things can be learned quickly. However, the personal experience reinforced by that of seasoned gardeners in the neighborhood will help you to act at the right time.
If you do not prune, the harvest will take place in August.
Remember to remove the last bouquets of flowers formed. If you prune, be diligent. With pruning, the feet give off fruits more quickly in order to ensure their reproduction. As their growth is limited by size, the plants will bear less and will feed them more; this will increase the size of each fruit.
Remove the greedy ones, in the axils of the leaves. These shoots give rise to leaves and bunches of flowers.
Pinch off the gourmets as they appear by cutting them between your thumb and forefinger.
If you are operating a little late, use clean pruning shears to prune the tomato stems because the cuts should always be clean.
Intervene every two weeks, until the end of August, except for cherry tomatoes and those of the „Roma“ type.
A delicate staking
Guided vertically along a stake, the tomatoes are thus preserved from soil moisture, which is detrimental in the long run.
Take advantage of the sizes to tie them together, being careful not to break or bruise the main stem.
Use raffia strands, forming a figure eight around the stem and stake.
Approach the plants as close as possible to the stake, without bringing them into contact. This operation reserved for cut tomatoes is quite delicate.
Gently handle the feet whose bouquets of flowers are barely formed or juste “knotted” (beginning of growth and development of the young ovary in fruit).
If you were unable to intervene in time, it is easier to add a stake away from the first than to force the plants.
Late leaf stripping
Do not rush: removing the leaves is to help the ripening of the last fruits and thus allow them to be better exposed to the sun’s rays.
This tomato stripping does not take place until the end of the season: it reduces the vigor of the feet, which have cut off a large part of their respiratory system. We only remove leaves once, except to remove the ones that are sick and that could contaminate the crop.
During September, cut the leaves covering the bouquets which are finishing ripening, as well as those at the bottom, if they are damaged or appear diseased.
Again, this is not essential for cherry tomatoes and ‘Roma’ tomatoes.
Keep your feet cool and your head in the sun: it’s not so easy to combine these two conditions.
The primary objective is to protect the plants from possible repeated rains. But it also increases nighttime and daytime temperatures by preventing at all costs the installed protections from causing condensation which would then be detrimental.
You should try to cover the plantations, usually once the clumps have formed, so as to allow the air to circulate well between the plants.
Be careful with personal protections which will only be effective if they are removed and then replaced regularly according to variations in temperature and humidity. One of the best ways to extend harvests is a raised frame system, although it takes a long time to install.
In the vegetable garden, some years are good and others bad for tomatoes. Thus, periods of almost permanent humidity, combined with unusually cool temperatures are disastrous; regular treatments will not change this.
Copper, sold in the form of Bordeaux mixture, is generally effective preventively against mildew, but in the long run, it is sterilizing for the soil and toxic for its microfauna. Prefer regular passages of natural plant solutions, intended to strengthen more than care for the plants. Rich in trace elements and purifying for damp leaves, two or three powdered maërl or micronized clay at the end of the season will have an undeniable beneficial effect.
Prune, stake, mulch, water: these actions will be useless on a grassy crop. Tomatoes don’t like competition, even in fertile soil. In addition, weeds maintain moisture at the base of the plants, which is a source of disease.
Be vigilant from the first weeks after planting, weed and weed on the surface so as not to damage the surface roots of the plants. Be careful, thick mulching limits, but does not prevent the development of unwanted people. After each pruning and each harvest, spend a few minutes uprooting them. Amaranths, goosefoots, false millets love the excellent conditions that we offer to our tomatoes, it would be a shame if they also took advantage!
A beneficial mulch
Intended to limit evaporation, as with any slightly delicate crop, mulching remains essential; it will compensate for any irregularities in the watering.
Whether the mulch consists of flax flakes, hemp, mowing waste in renewed fine layers, cereal straw, mulching always follows the same rule: the soil must be at its maximum temperature and have been carefully weeded.
Except in the south of France and on sandy soils – which are quicker to heat up and which look like real “pierced baskets” -, it is better to mulch, generally around the end of June, every week. tomato plants, considering that it is never too late to do well …
A profitable fertilizer
In good garden soil, with regularly worked and amended soil, so deep and rich in organic matter, it is not necessary to add fertilizer during cultivation.
In recently reclaimed plots, land abused by work, for example, or in sandy soils, fertilization is useful.
When the first fruits of the first bouquet are formed, incorporate a fertilizer rich in potash, favorable to the formation of the fruits. It will be found, in greater quantities than nitrogen and potash, in special natural tomato fertilizers, supplemented with trace elements, such as boron or zinc. A single intake is sufficient. However, if it is preferable to do it early enough, its application is allowed up to six weeks before the end of the harvest.
Water supplies are essential for tomatoes which, once cut, have a manointing ability to nourish oneself.
Except in case of prolonged humidity, as soon as the plants begin to develop, add 15 liters of water / m² weekly at once, taking care not to wet the foliage (to do this, consider installing a microporous pipe or a drip). Decrease watering once all the clumps are formed.
Beware of irregular intakes that cause apical necrosis on the fruit, a condition better known as black ass. Cherry tomatoes or ‘Roma’ tomatoes can go without watering for a few weeks.
For other varieties, water stress (leaf curling on themselves) can cause flowers to drop before fruit set.
From July until frost.
Ripe tomatoes will be harvested … or „spinning“, when they just begin to color evenly. It’s all a matter of taste!
Use end of season green tomatoes without fear for making jam and other donuts: the solanine they contain is toxic in the raw fruit (it is then absolutely inedible) but completely deactivated during cooking.
Diseases and parasites: what care should be taken?
What gardener does not fear the attacks of late blight on his tomatoes? This fungus causes large brown spots to appear on leaves, stems and fruits.
Early and / or severe attacks can lead to plant death. From the first symptoms, start treatments with horsetail decoction. In fact, mildew needs drops of water (rain, dew, sprinkler watering) to germinate and contaminate plant tissue. In dry weather the disease is contained.
Cherry tomato: cultivation, harvest, consumption
Easier to grow than tomatoes, cherry tomatoes do not require pruning, fruit quickly, a lot and for a long time, and some varieties are even resistant to late blight.
Among the many varieties of existing tomatoes (more than a thousand), we find the cherry tomato which is eaten mainly raw: in salads, it is accompanied by a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sublimates a Mozzarella. Its taste qualities are interesting because they are generally a little sweet. They are also suitable for making candied or dried tomatoes, tomato coulis or sauces.
Cherry tomatoes are closer to their wild ancestors than classic cultivated tomatoes. The varieties are numerous, sometimes recent and offered as F1 hybrids. Fruiting earlier than large-fruited tomatoes, they are particularly recommended for the regions of northern France. They are also suitable for growing in pots (allow at least 30 cm in height and width).
Where to find organic tomato seeds?
Sprinkler and watering can Tomato seeds Guardian
The needs of tomatoes
Like other tomatoes, they need a good sunny position, especially in the morning, as well as loose, cool soil, enriched with compost the previous fall.
How to sow and plant the cherry tomato
Sow in mid-March in a terrine placed at 20 ° C, behind a well-lit window.
Transplant into pots in mid-April.
Plant in the vegetable garden from May 15, after installing a stake and burying the stem until the first leaves.
Water copiously. Cherry tomato plants are easy to find in the store.
If you don’t have time or space to sow, buy them in mid-May (not before, except in the South) and plant them as previously described.
How to grow cherry tomatoes
Water regularly so as to keep the soil always a little damp.
Mulch from mid-June to limit water loss.
You can leave the suckers, those secondary stems that appear in the axils of the leaves, and not prune.
When to harvest cherry tomatoes
Harvest the tomatoes when they are ripe and when they have taken their final color (red, yellow or white depending on the variety).
The different varieties of cherry tomatoes
Start with the F1 hybrids ‘Sweet 100’ and ‘Sun Gold’: these two varieties are very productive and early.
Although sweet, they are resistant to mildew and do not tend to burst.
Also try F1 ‘Summer Sun’, very fruity and golden yellow.
Tomato ‘De Berao’
Tomatoes ‘De Berao’ on a chestnut pylon used as a stake
Full sun Soil type Rich, humus Medium to low watering Sowing mid-February to late March Planting May Harvest late July to early October Moderate to good susceptibility to late blight.
Use salad, coulis, preserves. Our advice is to use long and sturdy stakes.
Also called „Tree tomato“, ‘De Berao’ is a vine tomato that can climb up to 4 m high.
The olive-shaped fruits of the ‘De Berao’ tomato evoke in miniature those of the more classic type of the ‘Roma’ variety. What the fruits lose in size, even if they are not the smallest templates of their kind, they gain in productivity. This vigorous variety is garnished with nice, firm and sweet bunches all summer.
Cocktail tomato ‘Harmony’ F1
Cherry tomatoes ‘Harmony’ F1
Full sun Soil type Rich, humus Moderate to low watering Sowing in February to end of March Planting in May Harvest: July to September Sensitivity to mildew moderate to good.
Use raw in salads, cooked on skewers. Our advice is disease resistant and easy to use, it can be enjoyed in a jar.
Surprisingly productive, ‘Harmony’ is a hybrid cocktail tomato, which is covered in season with numerous bunches, each garnished with about 20 small, red, round and smooth tomatoes. Juicy and deliciously scented, they can be eaten as an aperitif and in raw vegetables or, cooked, make up summer skewers.
Cocktail tomato ‘Black Cherry’
Cherry tomato ‘Black Cherry’
Full sun Soil type Rich, humus Moderate to low watering Sowing mid-February to end of March Planting May Harvest July to September Sensitivity to mildew medium to good.
Use raw in salads, cooked on skewers. Our advice is suitable for areas in the north of France.
Despite its name, ‘Black Cherry’ is of Siberian origin. That says a lot about the hardiness of this cocktail tomato! Gardeners were not mistaken: this is the most widely cultivated black berry variety.
Cherry tomato ‘Gold Nugget’
Yellow Cherry Tomatoes ‘Gold Nugget’
Full sun Soil type Rich, humus Medium to low watering Sowing in February to end of March Planting in May Harvesting early July to end of September Sensitivity to mildew high to medium.
Use as an aperitif, salad, skewers.Our advice after a rain, treat with Bordeaux mixture effective against early blight or mildew, and nettle manure.
Early cherry tomato with determined growth and yellow – orange fruit. Compact and productive variety, ideal for small gardens and balconies.
‘Gold Nugget’ compensates for its weak vigor by developing countless golden, sweet and sweet berries. Not to spoil anything, this is one of the first varieties to ripen in season.
Cocktail tomato ‘Brockwood’
Full sun exposure Soil type Rich, humus Medium to low watering Sowing in February to end of March Planting in May Harvest end July to September Sensitivity to mildew medium.
Use salad or coulis. Our advice is to collect the seeds and share them with your friends.
Collector’s cocktail variety cultivated in the Bourdaisière vegetable garden (37), ‘Brockwood’ would benefit from popularization, even if its larger fruits, juicy and sweet, look like classic tomatoes.
tomato variety ‘crokini’
Full sun Soil type Rich, humus Moderate to low watering Sowing in February to end of March Planting in May Harvesting end of June to end of September Sensitivity to mildew medium to good.
Use as a salad, as an aperitif. Our advice works just as well in the ground in the vegetable garden as in a pot or container. A recent variety, it produces many clusters with small red fruits of 15 to 18 g each.
The ‘Crokini’ variety is covered with sweet and very tasty small round fruits. Ideal for snacking and picnic breaks, it can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Resistant to fusarium, mosaic and nematodes, ‘Crokini’ is quickly adopted by amateur and experienced gardeners. One of its peculiarities is its good resistance to bursting at maturity, too often observed on cherry tomatoes.
Cherry tomato ‘Sweet’n Neat’ F1
Full sun Soil type Rich, humus Medium to low watering Sowing in February to end of March Planting in May Harvesting in July to September Sensitivity to mildew medium.
Use as is or in a salad.Our advice is to force this variety of tomato in a greenhouse or on a veranda, harvest at the end of June.
Determined growing tomato, ideal for growing in balconies or on the windowsill.
The dark and compact vegetation of ‘Sweet’n Neat’ (yellow version) is covered in summer with golden tomatoes, with a sweet and sweet flavor. Its mini-fruits of around 20 g make it a large cherry tomato or a small cocktail tomato. Grow it in a planter, on a patio, on a balcony, or simply on a window sill. Double the pleasure by cultivating her with her red alter ego!
Cherry tomato ‘Capriccio’ F1
Full sun Soil type Rich, humus Medium to low watering Sowing in February to end of March Planting in May Harvest July to September Sensitivity to mildew good in sunny situation.
Use as an aperitif, salad, cooked. Our advice is to grow it in the ground or under cold shelter.
‘Capriccio’ is a cocktail tomato the shape and size of a small olive. Vigorous, this hybrid variety is offered in seeds or in organic young plants.
Red currant tomato ‘Red Currant’
Full sun Soil type Rich, humus Medium to low watering Sowing in February to end of March Planting in May Harvesting late July to September Sensitivity to mildew medium.
Use raw as an aperitif, salad. Our advice only keep 3 to 5 bouquets per plant.
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