Ahh, New Year’s. A time to reflect, a time to look forward and a time to make resolutions so the New Year can be even better than the last. Don’t forget to think about your garden when making your resolutions. To start things off, I’ve come up with some great New Year’s resolutions for tomato growers to ensure the best tomatoes ever.
So, here they are – My suggestions for The Tomato Grower’s New Years Resolutions!
Tempting though it may be…Even though the sun is shining and it feel’s like spring, I will not give in to the urge to plant tomatoes outside early in March. (Remember, soil and nighttime temperature needs to be about 55 degrees)
I will plan to and actually allow three feet in between tomato plants. Yes! Three feet! The reasons are many. Tomatoes have big root systems and need lots of soil around them to keep healthy. Additionally, good air circulation for foliage and growing fruit will help reduce disease and improve health.
I will properly support my tomatoes with stakes (for the center stem) and cages or trellis for heavy branches and fruit. That means no flimsy cages better suited to growing flowers than six-foot high tomato plants. Without some help from you heavy branches will break and fruit will rot on the ground.
I will feed my tomatoes regularly with a well balanced, organic fertilizer. I know you want to buy that familiar brand that’s on sale at the big box store. Don’t do it! I promise, it’s worth the extra expense to use the good stuff. You’ll produce healthier plants with more fruit to harvest, and more of the nutrients will be in the tomatoes than if you use the other stuff. ‘Nuff said?
Now, here’s the hard one. I want feedback from all of you on this. I want to know if you actually stuck to it!
I will not, no matter how hot it is and no matter how thirsty my plants look, I will not over water my tomatoes! Tomatoes do not want, need or do well with daily watering. Don’t do it!
When I first plant, I water my tomatoes twice a week. That’s a very deep soak. If you’re not in sunny Southern California, make that once a week. After one month, I take my cues from the plants. If they’re droopy early in the morning, they need to be watered. If not, leave them alone. Take a leap of faith and trust me on this!
Of course there will be more detailed tips as we get closer to planting season, but in the meantime, Happy New Year to tomato growers everywhere!