Row by Row Episode 202: Best Gardening Tips To Grow Lots Of Tomatoes

It’s that time of year again! We’re smack in the middle of June, it’s HOT and we’ve got lots of tomatoes growing in the garden. The best gardening tips to grow lots of tomatoes…right here!

Blossom End Rot

Blossom End Rot is one of the most common diseases when it comes to growing tomatoes. It is a physiological disorder of a tomato. Symptoms are water-soaked spots on the blossom end of the fruit. These spots can become enlarged and black in color. Secondary infection by decay-causing organisms usually follows. The cause of this disorder is a calcium deficiency in the developing fruit. Extreme fluctuations in moisture, rainy or cloudy weather with high humidity, cool temperatures, insufficient soil calcium, root pruning from nearby cultivation, and excessive ammoniacal nitrogen, potassium, or magnesium fertilization can also increase the chances of blossom end rot.

The “Wilt” Issue

Southern Bacterial Wilt and Tomato Spotted Wilt are two issues when it comes to growing tomatoes. Southern Bacterial Wilt caused by Ralstonia Solanacearum, this bacterium survives in the soil for extended periods and enters the roots through wounds made by transplanting, cultivation, insect feeding damage, and natural wounds where secondary roots emerge. Disease development is favored by high temperatures and high moisture. The bacteria multiples rapidly inside the water-conducting tissue of the plant, filling it with slime. This can result in rapid wilt of the plant while the leaves will stay green.

Tomato Spotted Wilt is spread by tiny insects called thrips, which acquire the virus by feeding on one of many infected weeds or ornamental hosts, and then spreads it to the growing tomato plants. Several weeks after transplanting the plants into your garden, some random plants may appear stunted, and younger leaves may be marked with dark spots (or bronze colored) or have prominent purple veins. Often the upper foliage will become twisted and cupped as the bronze area had expanded. Fruits may also have yellow spots. Younger plants may wilt and die, but older plants may survive and bear discolored fruit that may not fully ripen.

Common Diseases & Ways To Fight Back

Organic controls consist of crop rotation and selected resistant varieties that are resistant to Fusarium Wilt, Bacterial Wilt, Tomato Mosaic Virus, Early and Late Blight. You want to use a Complete Disease Control drench when it comes to early blight. Fungi Max is great for bacterial wilt. If your tomato plants have signs of early and late blight, as well as, bacterial spot you will want to use Liquid Cop. The Vegetable, Flower, Fruit and Ornamental Fungicide should be used with you have just early and late blight on the tomatoes. Garden Phos is good to use with late blight and bacterial spot.

Common Pests & Ways To Fight Back

Garden Insect Spray – Thrips, Horn Worms

Horticultural Oil – Aphids, Stinkbugs, Flea Beetle, Whiteflies, Spider Mites

Bug Buster O – Aphids, Flea Beetles, Whiteflies

Monterey BT – Hornworms

Take Down Garden Spray – Aphids, Horn Worms, Flea Beetles, Whiteflies

Diatomaceous Earth – Cutworms

Bug Buster II – Aphids, Horn Worms, Stinkbugs, Flea Beetles, Whiteflies, Spider Mites, Thrips

How To Prevent Tomato Diseases

  • Purchase disease-resistant seeds and plants.
  • Provide adequate spacing between plants to ensure proper airflow.
  • Well-drained soil, pH between 6.2 and 6.8, amend with quality compost, good supply organic matter
  • Plant on drip Irrigation System, keep foliage dry
  • Crop Rotation
  • Fertilization Schedule
  • Cover Crop preceding Tomatoes
  • Remove all diseased tomato plant debris

Product of the Week

Tomato Seeds

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