Our Top Tomato Tips

Our Top Tomato Tips

For our Spring and Summer crops, tomatoes are always favorite to grow in our Katie’s Krops’ gardens. Below, you will find great tips that will help you have a sucessful growing season in your garden.

Tomato Basics

  • Soil should be well drained, high in organic matter, and have an optimum soil pH of 6.2 to 6.5.
  • Planting times for Spring are March 25 – April 10 and for Fall are July 25 – 30. Optimum temperatures for planting are 70-80° F during the day and 60-70° F during the night.
  • Tomato plants need 1-1.5 gallons per day, which is the equivalent of 1-1.5 inches of rain per week. Adequate moisture aids in the nutrient uptake of the plant. Soils rich in organic matter hold more water than soils that have not been amended.
  • When fertilizing, apply Nitrogen monthly, because the plant uses it to make new foliage and fruit. When selecting a tomato plant, choose disease resistant varieties and purchase healthy transplants. If starting tomato plants from seed, use the recommended practices to avoid spindly growth and diseased seedlings.

There are two types of tomato plants – determinate and indeterminate.

  • Determinate tomato plants grow, flower, set fruit, and die early in the season.
  • Indeterminate tomato plants grow, flower, and produce fruit over a longer period. Most heirlooms are indeterminate. Indeterminate tomatoes must be staked and pruned.

Four amazing reasons to prune and stake your tomato plants.

  • It will maximize the photosynthesis efficiency of the plant.
  • It reduces disease.
  • It redirects carbohydrates to the fruit and away from the foliage of the plant.
  • Staking leads to earlier and larger fruiting. On indeterminate plants, staking will yield fruit 2-3 weeks earlier.

All of the above information is provided by the South Carolina Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service. For additional information on tomatoes, please visit the HGIC 1323 Tomato fact sheet at the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service Home and Garden Information Center website at:   http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/vegetables/crops/hgic1323.html.