deltzy
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:15 pm
Location: London UK

What are the Secrets for Tomato Growing Success?

Hey there guys fairly new to the forum and wanted to ask this question (sorry if its been asked before)!

What is the secret for growing success for you over the years? Maybe you have a special potting mix or secret ingredient you add in the beds or even a fertilizer that have given you amazing results.

I sure would love to know as I started gardening and falling in love with growing tomatoes! :D

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Compost! Good rich organic soil. That's all I give my tomatoes, compost in the planting hole, compost top dressing mid season. They do great. It is very rich soil that is always mulched and then the mulch turned under and added to the soil. Full of earthworms, dark and crumbly.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27972
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Welcome to the forum! :D
I second compost and healthy soil. No pesticides nor herbicides.
Also heavily leaning towards no-till gardening.

I also like to read up on plant varieties and, for annual crops like tomatoes, prefer open pollinated or heirloom varieties adapted to my local area, but for perennial fruit trees, shrub, and plants, I choose disease resistant cultivars.

User avatar
Gary350
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5160
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

I always dig a hole about the size of an 8" flower pot. Then I throw in a hand full of 15-15-15 fertilizer and some lime then fill each hole with water. When the water goes down I plant the tomato plants in the hole with lots of compost. I plant the roots deep so the whole plant stem is covered in dirt. Tomatoes have the ability to grow roots any place dirt touches the stem. My soil is much better than it was 20 years ago I use to put 4 or 5 bales of 3.8 cu ft peat moss in the garden every year and lots of compost but no peat moss the past 2 years. With 30 plants I am able to can 100 pints and about 20 quarts in mason jars every summer. I only water my plants for about 2 weeks after they were planted then I don't water any more no matter how hot and dry it gets. If I don't water it forces the roots to grow deep in search of water so when the hot weather comes the plants are prepaired with a good deep root system. I croud the tomatoes so they shade themself from the sun in hot weather it keeps the tomatoes from getting sun burn. I never have blossom end rot, green shoulder or splitting. I have 25 bird houses so I don't have bugs either and no bugs means no toxic strays or powder. I hoe the garden about 5 minutes in the morning about 3 times a week for the first month then I hardly every need to hoe after that.

731greener101
Cool Member
Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:36 pm
Location: West Tennessee Zone 6b

I am with rainbow g and apple s."Feed the soil and it will feed you".Greener

filmnet
Senior Member
Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:49 pm
Location: USA

This year, new garden, last fall cleaned the grass out 20ft square in our lawn house was built in 1875 and this garden land has not used, Compost and garden lime. I did not till the ground, great old dirt.This year used bone meal and new compost from a kitchen, more lime. unbelievable tomatoes plants
compost from a kitchen, more lime
[img]https://i581.photobucket.com/albums/ss256/filmnet1/Can111.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i581.photobucket.com/albums/ss256/filmnet1/ItalianRedPear.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i581.photobucket.com/albums/ss256/filmnet1/cowlick-1.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i581.photobucket.com/albums/ss256/filmnet1/3plants.jpg[/img]

deltzy
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:15 pm
Location: London UK

Ah great replies learnt lots of new techniques, never heard of starving tomatoes so the roots go deep in the ground, might try it!

Any more techniques thats worked for people? :)

731greener101
Cool Member
Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:36 pm
Location: West Tennessee Zone 6b

I was exposed to removing all but the top two branches when transplanting from pot to garden as a child.This year I decided to take this one step further and transplant the tomato plant when capable of planting 18 inches deep plus two branches above ground.So far this has worked out well in my raised bed(especially given we are in drought conditions).I am really curious as to what the root ball will look like at the end of the season.I will get to see how many tap roots I damaged if any.Greener

User avatar
lorax
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1316
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:48 pm
Location: Ecuador, USDA Zone 13, at 10,000' of altitude

The Andean wisdom is to dig a hole as deep as your knee, then backfill it with rich compost, toss in some eggshells, make it into a mud pudding, and plant the tomato in that. It works wonderfully for me - I now have 12' tall heirloom cherry tom vines with more than 300+ fruit on each one, and my Romas have never looked better. I fertilize with seaweed emulsion monthly.

User avatar
Zapatay
Senior Member
Posts: 210
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 5:10 pm
Location: 5a - Northern IL, WI border

lorax wrote:The Andean wisdom is to dig a hole as deep as your knee, then backfill it with rich compost, toss in some eggshells, make it into a mud pudding, and plant the tomato in that. It works wonderfully for me - I now have 12' tall heirloom cherry tom vines with more than 300+ fruit on each one, and my Romas have never looked better. I fertilize with seaweed emulsion monthly.
How do you support them?

User avatar
lorax
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1316
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:48 pm
Location: Ecuador, USDA Zone 13, at 10,000' of altitude

I use 8' long broom handles sunk 1' into the soil, then wind the vines around these in a fairly compact fashion, braiding in the secondary growth as it gets long enough. My largest toms have gone past the tops of their brooms and onto tomato twine that's attached to the upper wall. It looks kind of strange, but it works wonderfully. My tomatoes look a bit Dr. Seuss-y at the moment because I've always adhered to the philosophy that you get better-tasting ripe toms if they ripen in full sun, and so I pull off the lower leaves once the fruit is fully set. This means I have a riot of green at the top of the plant, and pretty much bare vines at the bottom, but the tomatoes I'm harvesting right now are fantastic.

I'm growing seven plants this cycle of an Ecuadorean heirloom variety ID cherry tomato called "Fresita" - it's a huge producer of sweet, meaty tomatoes about the size of large strawberries. Fruit set seems to be between 10 and 20 per bunch.

[img]https://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh196/HabloPorArboles/DSCN3259.jpg[/img]

deltzy
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:15 pm
Location: London UK

!

Wow those are some amazing tomatoes!!! Advice taken on board! Do you mulch your tomatoes and what with? (I think I see some bark or similar)

731greener101
Cool Member
Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:36 pm
Location: West Tennessee Zone 6b

I follow the same pruning,staking,and training.No one else in this region does this and I get some pretty strange looks.Tomatoes do all the talking.Greener

User avatar
lorax
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1316
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:48 pm
Location: Ecuador, USDA Zone 13, at 10,000' of altitude

I mulch with a 1' square of red plastic with a keyhole cut into it for the stem, and that I poke holes in with a nail to let water through - it increases the soil temperature and encourages deep rooting, as well as speeding the ripening process. What you're seeing that looks mulchy in that photo are the leaves dropping from my neighbour's overhead Capuli cherry tree (we have giant thrushes that bounce around in the trees all day, which hastens leaf drop in the wet season); it's technically "winter" here so the fruit trees are all gone dormant.

deltzy
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:15 pm
Location: London UK

Oh I see, never thought of using plastic! But how does it compare to such mulching as straw or chipped bark (apart from being not as enviro freindly)? :)

User avatar
lorax
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1316
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:48 pm
Location: Ecuador, USDA Zone 13, at 10,000' of altitude

In my climate, which is very hot and sunny, it works wonderfully. I have no idea how it would perform in GB. I'm using it less to retain moisture and more to direct heat to the roots.

And I'd beg to differ about environmental friendliness. The plastic I use is a biodegradable corn-based polymer.

731greener101
Cool Member
Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:36 pm
Location: West Tennessee Zone 6b

I mulch with partially composted leaves and grass clippings.I have also thought to use the red plastic as One of my favorite gardeners(Edward C. Smith) highly recommends this practice.Until this year my tomato plants would put on clusters of 2-3 fruits per cluster but now they are putting on 6-12 fruits per cluster.As an aside....I check my Ph and N-P-K monthly and adjust as needed.I like to use Epsoma fertilizer and aerated compost tea.Greener

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

I tried the red plastic one year. It works based on reflecting light in the red range back to the plant. However for my back yard usage with a few plants close together, I doubt enough light gets down to ground level to be reflected back. Anyway, I didn't do any control group study, but it didn't make any noticeable difference for me, that I could tell.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

filmnet
Senior Member
Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:49 pm
Location: USA

Salt marsh hay is the best if you live by the ocean,?

Return to “TOMATO FORUM”