Tomatoes are a very forgiving plant and do well in nearly all soil types and conditions, but if you want them to preform at their best, your soil should have a soil pH between 6-&7. If you're unsure of your soils pH, get a soil test from your extension office. They're a great thing to have.
Next, you must know your variety. Most of the varieties we offer are heirlooms, which means they are indeterminate. Indeterminate means that they don't stop growing when their first blossom appears. An indeterminate tomato can grow anywhere from 8 feet to 20. So figure on staking, trellising, or caging your tomatoes.
Allow adequate space for water, oxygen, and nutrient consumption - 24-30" is the standard spacing for heirlooms. also, the more space you give them, the less likely they are to spread disease from plant to plant.
The time to put out tomatoes depends entirely on the weather. As a rule of thumb, set them out only after the last frost date, and be prepared to drop everything and cover your little guys if a late freeze warning is issued.
Set plants very deep, all the way up to the new leaf growth. Remove any yellow leaves or blossoms. I know it's tempting to keep those first blossoms, but it is important during the first week for the plant to be building healthy roots and foliage, and diverting that energy to early fruit production would only weaken your plant and cut your growing season short.
Fertilize with a liquid fertilizer when first set, again in two weeks with granular 5-10-10, and once more with granular when fruit begins to set. That's it - don't over fertilize them. If you do, they will grow too rapidly, encouraging disease and delayed blossom and fruit set.
Tomatoes are easy - if they look brown and wilted, give them a drink! If not, don't worry about them. But most importantly, water them in the morning. If watered at night, the water won't evaporate from their leaves, and wet leaves are the best way to get unwanted foliage diseases.
Tomatoes can be pruned, but they need their leaves for photosynthesis and the more leaves you have, the more protection your fruit has from sun scald. We haven't seen not pruning effect the size of any of our fruit or the health of the plant.
If you have any more questions about groing tomatoes or problems with a plant, feel free to call or email us.
No garden is complete without a tomato plant, and when you pick that first, juicy globe of the plant you so diligently doted on all summer, you'll know why. A member of the nightshade family, the tomato has come a long way from the weedy, wild plant that once grew in the gardens of Montezuma. Once thought of by wary westerners as poisonous, it is now a staple in our diets and an obsession for many serious garden growers. With over 100 varieties, to choose from - heirloom, determinate, yellow, green, striped, beefsteak, plum, cherry, paste, pink, blue - you may find yourself suffering from a major 'mater induced headache. The good news is, we've grown them all, and we're more than happy to help you find your favorite without getting a headache.