Posted by Reedy Fork Organic Farm on 6/1/2021 to News
The cooler weather in the Piedmont area has given garden planters some more time to grow those delicious 'maters. Here are some tips for successful growth: Tomatoes grow best when they receive eight hours or more of direct sunlight each day and are planted in soils with good drainage or in raised beds. Tomatoes grow and produce best when daytime temperatures range from 70 to 80 degrees, and night temperatures fall between 60 to 70 degrees. Most of our summer days exceed these spring like temperatures, which can cause tomato plants to shed their blossoms without setting fruit. Fruits that do ripen when daytime temperatures reach into the mid 90’s have less flavor, ripen unevenly, and may develop hard white areas inside the flesh. Planting tomatoes as early as possible will give plants more time to grow and produce under ideal temperatures before the hottest part of summer. Tomatoes are one of the few vegetables that have the ability to produce roots along their stem. Setting the root ball two or three inches deeper than soil level at planting time will result in plants with larger, more extensive root systems. If you have plants with long leggy stems do not bury the root ball several inches deep. Instead, dig a shallow trench and plant them lying sideways, so the leggy part of the stem is planted horizontally two to three inches below soil level. Space tomato plants at least three feet apart and place a cage around plants to support them as they grow. Mulching the soil underneath and around tomatoes will help keep soil moisture even and soil temperatures cooler during summer. For best results, use Fertrell's specially formulated Tomato Grower 3-4-7 at the start of your planting and again in the middle of the growing period.