Bust­ing com­mon gar­den myths about toma­toes

Ontario Gardener Magazine - - LOCAL DIRT -

Sorry Grandma, this is not true. To­mato plants can't ab­sorb sugar in the soil, they pro­duce it through pho­to­syn­the­sis. The sugar con­tent of a va­ri­ety is pre­de­ter­mined in the plant's ge­net­ics.

Myth: Add chalk or egg shells to the plant­ing hole to pre­vent black rot on toma­toes. Busted!

Again, a good tip, since they pro­vide cal­cium to the fruit (since egg shells take a while to de­com­pose, crush or grind the shells to en­able them to dis­solve faster). The prob­lem is the amount you need to add and the time they take to break down.

Use Sea­m­agic in­stead, it breaks down faster. But soil com­po­si­tion is usu­ally the prob­lem be­hind black rot. Black rot oc­curs be­cause of a “block­age” in root ab­sorp­tion; the best fix is even and fre­quent wa­ter­ing.

Bet­ter: Myth: Plant­ing toma­toes in a trench or up to the first true leaves pro­motes a stur­dier plant. Not Busted!

This is true for seed prop­a­gated heir­looms and hy­brids. This one is still true for seed prop­a­gated heir­looms and hy­brids. Plant­ing deeply does help elon­gate the root­ing area since any point on the stem that comes into con­tact with the soil will root.

This is not true for grafted toma­toes (plants and/or sup­plies for graft­ing are avail­able by mail or­der) be­cause if the scion takes root it will negate the ben­e­fits of the grafted root­stock so never plant a grafted to­mato too deeply.

Busted!

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