Growing Tomatoes in the Garden
When planting tomatoes they do best transplanted instead of direct-seeded in the vegetable garden. Transplants should be planted in the garden, 4 to 6 weeks before the intended outdoor planting date. If weather conditions are just right the tomato transplants can be planted directly into the garden. However, if the weather is still too cold, then transplants should be stepped up into larger pots to allow more room for tomato growth. Once tomato transplants are planted in the vegetable garden they will begin producing heavy yields of fruits quickly. Tomatoes also need a support system to help the fruits stay upright in the garden. Greg recommends using the Flordia Weave Trellis technique with twine and stakes to ensure the plants stay off the ground, reduce the possibility of diseases, and keeps the fruits clean in the vegetable garden. Another way to support the tomato plants is by using tomato cages which help with taller plants that are much heavier in the vegetable garden. The trellising systems can also help when growing peppers and eggplants as well in the vegetable garden. Providing plenty of calcium to the root systems will also help reduce blossom end rot and produce the healthiest tomatoes. After harvesting, the best way to store the healthiest tomatoes is to place them underneath a barn or carport that has a well-shaded area with good airflow.
Some of the heirloom variety of tomatoes we offer are Mortgage Lifter, Jubilee, Cherokee Purple, and Yellow Pear. These heirloom varieties produce popular tomatoes that have the best flavor profiles and are a go-to for growing on any homestead. The hybrid variety of tomatoes we have available are Bella Rosa, Brickyard, Mountain Glory, and Sun Gold. All of these hybrid varieties have excellent flavor profiles, disease-resistant characteristics, and maximum yields in the vegetable garden.
Avoiding Blossom End Rot on Tomatoes
On this week’s episode, Greg explains the best way to grow the healthiest tomatoes by eliminating blossom end rot in the vegetable garden. A major issue during the growing stages of tomatoes is blossom end rot which occurs typically when the plants are stressed due to a lack of calcium. Calcium is soluble which means it moves readily throughout the plants in the vegetable garden. It commonly leaves the tomatoes with brown and yellow water spots on the end or bottom of the fruit where the blossom once was. The lack of calcium can be caused by poorly drained soils that cannot apply calcium fast enough to the growing tomatoes. In order to prevent blossom end rot, Greg applies pelletized gypsum soil conditioner to get the calcium to the plants effectively. Greg simply takes the tomato plant out of the seed starting tray and adds 8 ounces (1 cup) of the soil conditioner to the bottom of the desired hole you are planting the tomato transplant. He also mixes the pelletized gypsum in with the garden soil, then plants the tomato deep in the vegetable garden. It’s important to add the calcium to the roots of the tomato plants in order to fight off the blossom end rot. Once the tomatoes start blooming, Greg recommends applying two more cups of the gypsum soil conditioner around the top of the plants and really close to the root system. When the water hits the tops of the plant it will move the calcium we applied into the soil and the plant roots will absorb it up to develop the fruits. Overall, avoiding blossom end rot problems will allow you to grow the healthiest tomatoes in the vegetable garden.