Down here in SW Colorado, we are just getting around to putting tomatoes (and other warm-season crops) in the ground. As our days get warmer, here are a couple of things you can do that will have your tomato plants thanking you. And perhaps you can make the diva happy, because really, that’s what gardening is all about.
· Deep thoughts. If you haven’t put your transplants in the ground yet, remember that they appreciate being planted deeper than they were in the container. Leave 3-4 branches above ground and remember to pinch off all flowers and fruit. Your plants, and BLT sandwich, will thank you later.
· Turbo boost! Up until the first fruits are 2 inches in diameter, feed the plants a water soluble fertilizer every two to three weeks. Organic alternatives would be fish meal or powder, and blood meal or bat guano, both of which need to be applied carefully so you don’t burn your plants.
· Put ‘em up! Tomato cages or concrete mesh work well for indeterminate plants with multiple stems; stakes are preferred for plants that have 1 to 3 stems. Be careful with twine – it may cut into the stem. Plant-tape or cloth works best for tying. Think about tying your stakes to each other (horizontally) for added support.
· Stupid side suckers. These form in the crotches or axils of the plant and act as a sink for vital nutrients and carbohydrates. So pinch or prune them off. If suckers appear below the first fruit cluster they may compromise the strength of the plant. As the plant grows, pruning becomes more of a challenge – so focus on the suckers that are still succulent and can be pinched-off easily.
· More please... Give the plants healthy drinks of water regularly and deeply while they are rapidly developing. Plants need roughly 3-5 gallons of water each week. Infrequent and irregular water can lead to blossom-end rot.
|This is how we grow them down here in Durango! Photo courtesy of here.|