4 Tomato Growing Tips!

The tomatoes are coming along nicely in our garden which means it's time to do a few important things for them to maximize their growth.  Here are a few quick tomato tips to help you grow your favorite backyard vegetable! (It's really a fruit though!) Stake your tomato well.  Whatever method you use to stake your tomatoes make sure it will hold the plant.  A good stake or cage will prevent the tomato from coming in contact with the soil and allow good air circulation around the plant to minimize fungal diseases.  Traditional tomato cages will eventually become too heavy with the weight of the fruit to stay up so another method is better.  Try using heavy duty stakes, heavy gauge wire cages with T posts to stake them up, the Florida weave method, livestock panel 'A' Frames or overhead supports with string lines for support. Fertilize appropriately!  I always…

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Why Add Lime for Tomatoes?

You've probably heard of adding lime to soil.  Farmers and lawn experts recommend it frequently to add to gardens and lawns to help your plants grow, but why?  Why should you use lime for your tomatoes? Lime is calcium carbonate.  Which leads us to one easy answer for why it might help tomatoes - to combat blossom end rot.  Blossom end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency in the plant cell walls.  Without enough calcium the cells cannot form correctly and break down in the fruit production of the plant.  How does lime correct this?  Obviously since lime is partially made of calcium it does add some to the soil but it also adjusts the pH levels of the soil.  Lime will raise the pH (per Hydrogen) of the soil and will make the soil less acidic.  Plants have certain pH levels that are ideal for their growth and…

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Just Dreaming of Summer Tomatoes

By far my favorite plant from the vegetable garden is the tomato.  I don't buy them from the stores if I can help it as there is very little flavor to be found in store bought tomatoes.  Fresh from the garden is how a tomato should be.  Today on a gray overcast winter day I'm looking back at the tomatoes of the past from my garden.  Those fresh garden tomatoes can't come soon enough for me! Roma tomatoes are excellent for making tomato paste or sauce.  Of course we'll happily make sauce from just about any tomato from our garden. Roma 'Cherokee Purple' tomatoes are delicious for slicing and eating.  The 'Cherokee Purple' tomatoes even have a Tennessee connection. Cherokee Purple The 'Woodle Orange' tomato is one of the most delicious tomatoes we've ever grown. It's my number one for slicing! Woodle Orange 'Red Zebra' tomatoes have interesting striping but…

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Mr. Tomato, Sphinx Moth, and a Garden Fresh Pizza

Please forgive the randomness of my title for today's post.  It's hard to sum up a weekend in just a few words!  Weekends are always busy times in the garden when the weather is as beautiful as it has been.  Sunday's humidity was a bit high in anticipation of the rain that's falling on the rooftop at this moment, but otherwise the weather was sunny with occasional clouds with temperatures in the 80's - great gardening weather! In the garden on Saturday we harvested a good batch of tomatoes.  They were mostly Amish paste tomatoes which were destined to become our dinner in the form of pizza!  I skipped a step on my pizza making and completely left off the sauce in favor of sliced tomatoes.  After the dough was rolled out I put a little olive oil on the dough then layered it with tomatoes to completely cover the pizza. It…

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5 Things You Need to Know About Growing a Great Tomato!

Tomato planting season is almost here for Middle Tennessee so I thought now would be the perfect time to share some things you need to know about growing a great tomato!  Tomatoes have always been my favorite crop from the garden.  I like tomatoes fresh, cooked, preserved - it doesn't matter how - I like a GREAT Tomato! There are some tricks that will help you grow a great tomato and a few things to watch out for like pests and diseases.  Please enjoy today's Friday Five - all about tomatoes! 5 Things You Need to Know About Growing a Great Tomato! Let's start with the soil. Good well drained and moisture retentive soil is important for tomatoes.  Water logged soil will result in fungal diseases and poor growth. I highly recommend adding compost as it will improve drainage and moisture retention.  It also has beneficial bacterias that will aid…

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