Tomatoes – Most Frequently Asked Questions
When we operated our Garden Centre we were asked the same questions about growing tomatoes, how to plant then, how much to water, etc. every year. Tomatoes, that wonderful versatile fruit, that can be used in salsas, sauces, salads, juiced, canned are one of the most popular home garden fruits. To eat a fresh one right off the vine, ripened by the sun, well it becomes understandable why. The following are the most frequent questions we were asked:
1. Question: What is the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomato plants? Answer: Determinate plants are bushy and short, they do not need staking or pruning, are good for containers, and grow well in cages. Indeterminate plants have greater yields, grow tall and need staking and should be pruned.
2. Question: How deep should I plant my tomato plant? Answer: Plant them deep. Dig your hole and plant the tomato plant to the first true leaves. Roots will grow along the parts of the stem that are buried, resulting in a stronger plant.
3. Question: How do I prune my plants? Answer: Know what type of plant you have, it should say on the tag. Determinate plants should not be pruned, as it will effect the fruit yields of the plant. Indeterminate plants will become very large and sprawling if not pruned. Pinch out all suckers,they do not produce fruit and will take energy away from the plant. The suckers are the part of the plant which grows in the joint just above a branch. Some people like to strip off all the leaves and branches for about the first 8 inches of the plant.
4. Question: My tomatoes look like they are rotting on the ends? Answer:This is called ” Blossom End Rot” and is caused by several factors. Tomatoes need calcium to produce large fruit, and when there is not enough being absorbed from the soil, the fruit breaks down. Surprisingly , it is usually our watering practices that bring on this problem, most of us have adequate calcium levels. Calcium cannot be absorbed by the plant with uneven watering. Do not let your plants dry out or over-water. Make a schedule of when you will water, depending on your site and soil type. Water regularly and evenly! I water mine in the greenhouse, in summer, on a timer,every 3 days for 45 minutes.
5. Question: Why do the leaves on my plants sometimes roll? Answer: Sometimes the temperature difference between night and day , or during heavy rain periods ( if your plants are outside) can cause the lower leaves to roll or curl. If your plants otherwise look healthy, don’t worry about the leaves.
I hope these FAQ’s help with any problems you may be having with your tomatoes. Enjoy the summer, and enjoy your tomato harvest!
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