By: Garden Gate staff
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Simple tips for tomato success!
On top of having tons of nutritional benefits — they’re packed with vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium and lycopene — tomatoes are delicious. There’s nothing better than biting into one that’s fresh-picked. Except maybe one that’s fresh-picked and easy-to-grow!
Click ahead for five no-fuss tips on getting lush, healthy plants and tasty fruit at every meal.
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Don’t bring out tomatoes until two weeks after your last average frost date. Plant them in a spot that gets full sun, burying the seedlings with 3 to 4 in. of stem below ground — remove any foliage that’ll end up beneath the soil.
New roots will form all along the stem, just like they did on our plant to the left, making for even more vigorous growth.
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Know your size options
Not enough room in your garden to grow traditional varieties? Buy dwarf or patio cultivars. They’re smaller and more compact, so they can fit in a container on the corner of the deck while still producing full-sized fruit.
Try a few of these unique plants! ‘New Big Dwarf’ has fruit that can grow to weigh 1 pound, ‘Tiny Tim’ is a heavy-producer and you can fit two or three ‘Patio Princess’ plants in a large container.
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Heirloom tomatoes come in tastes, shapes and colors that can’t be beat! But if your tomatoes have been plagued with disease in the past, hybrids, like popular ‘Beefmaster’ shown here, are the way to go — they’re bred to be more disease-resistant than old-fashioned varieties.
Just look for plants with a string of letters that are either posted nearby or come right after the name on the tag. They might look funny, but the variation of V, F, N, T and A are really initials standing for the diseases that specific plant is resistant to.
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A layer of straw mulch protects your tomatoes. When you water, it keeps soil from splashing up onto plants, preventing the transmission of soil-borne diseases.
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Tomatoes crack if they don’t get consistent moisture. Add water spikes — plastic spikes that funnel water directly to plants’ roots, where it’s needed most. And feed tomatoes with a vegetable-specific fertilizer, following package recommendations on frequency.