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Copyright: 2005 Marilyn Pokorney
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The tomato is the most commonly grown vegetable in the
States. Here are some tips on how to grow your own
bountiful crop of tomatoes.
Tomatoes should be grown in full sunlight.
Tomato plants require abundant moisture.
Tomatoes grow well in many types of soil but prefer fertile,
well-drained soil with pH of about 6.5.
Garden soil may be improved by adding rotted manure, leaf
mold, peat moss, or other organic materials.
The ideal tomato plant should be six to eight inches tall,
dark green, with a stocky stem and well-developed root
For each family member three to five plants should be grown
for fresh eating. If production for canning is desired,
then five to 10 plants person needs to be grown.
Plant tomatoes when the weather has warmed and the soil
temperature is above 60°F and air temperature is never lower
than 45 degrees at night.
Plant seedlings a little deeper than they were in the pots.
Set out tomato plants in the evening or on a cloudy day.
Mulching helps stop weed growth and water loss from the
soil. Place a two to three inch layer of organic material
such as compost, leaves, straw, grass clippings, hay,
newspapers, or black or red plastic sheeting around the
Tomatoes can be grown on the ground or supported by stakes
or cages. If using stakes put the stake in when planting
As the plant grows taller, tie it loosely to the stake every
12 inches with soft fabric or twine.
Tomatoes require at least one inch of water per week during
May and June and at least two inches per week during July,
August, and September. Water once or twice a week and to a
depth of 12 to 18 inches.
Space dwarf plants 12 inches apart; staked tomatoes should
be 12 to 18 inches apart. Allow 2 to 4 feet between non-
Rows should be spaced 3 to 5 feet apart for staked plants
and 4 to 6 feet apart for non-staked plants.
A 10-20-10 fertilizer should be applied at planting time.
Sidedress for the first time when the first fruits are one-
third grown. Use about one to two tablespoons per plant.
Mix the fertilizer into the soil then water, being careful
not to get the fertilizer on the foliage. A second
application should be made two weeks after the first ripe
fruit and a third application one month later. Water the
plants thoroughly after fertilizing. All fertilizers should
be worked into the top six inches of soil.
For more information on fertilizers:
About the author:
Author: Marilyn Pokorney
Freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the
Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading.
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