Some tomato grow­ing tips

Daily Trust - - AGRICULTURE -

Grow­ing great toma­toes doesn’t just hap­pen. Choose your fa­vorite va­ri­eties to grow, start them off right and con­trol prob­lems be­fore they hap­pen. Start here with some time tested tomato grow­ing tips. 1. Don’t crowd seedlings. If you are start­ing toma­toes from seed, be sure to give the seedlings plenty of room to branch out. Crowded con­di­tions in­hibit their growth, so trans­plant them into their own in­di­vid­ual 4 in. pot, shortly af­ter they get their first true leaves. 2. Pro­vide lots of light. Tomato seedlings need strong, di­rect light. Days are short dur­ing win­ter, so even plac­ing them near a very sunny win­dow may not pro­vide them with suf­fi­cient nat­u­ral light. Un­less you are grow­ing them in a green­house, your best op­tion is to use some type of ar­ti­fi­cial plant light­ing, for 14- 18 hours ev­ery day. 3. Bury them. Plant your tomato plants deeper than they come in the pot, all the way up to the top few leaves. When planted this way, toma­toes are able to de­velop roots all along their stems. And more roots will make for a stronger plant. 4. Re­move bot­tom leaves. Once your tomato plants reach about 3 ft. tall, re­move the leaves from the bot­tom 1 ft. of stem. These are the old­est leaves and they are usu­ally the first leaves to de­velop fun­gus prob­lems. As the plants fill out, the bot­tom leaves get the least amount of sun and air circulation. 5. Wa­ter the plants reg­u­larly. Wa­ter deeply and reg­u­larly while the plants are de­vel­op­ing. Ir­reg­u­lar wa­ter­ing, (miss­ing a week and try­ing to make up for it), leads to blos­som end rot and cracking. The rule of thumb is to en­sure your plants get at least 1 in. of wa­ter per week, but dur­ing hot, dry spells, they may need more. If your plants start to look wilted for most of the day, give them a drink.

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