Today, we take a look at your tomato garden. Are they in small containers? Are they sprawling along the ground? Does it resemble more of a tomato jungle than a tomato garden? Those are three of the most common mistakes new tomato growers commit. Don Shor of Redwood Barn Nursery in Davis, California talks about how to correct those mistakes, and many others.
He points out that one of the biggest causes for tomato issues is irregular watering.
What about pruning tomatoes? "Only if you want fewer tomatoes", says Shor.
He gets into the topic of growing tomatoes in raised beds, and points out that new soil in raised beds drains too quickly and spreads too narrowly. But after a few years, and after mulching and amending, that soil moisture will last longer and spread out, too. One way he suggests to improve water flow: don't pull out the tomato plants. Just cut off the plant at the soil level. That will improve the soil. For blossom end rot, Tums are not the answer, says Shor. The alleged calcium deficiency that brings on blossom end rot is actually environmental issues, such as weather, the type of soil, irregular watering. Shor says stick with tomato varieties that are known performers in your area. You can try a few heirlooms or other recommendations, but generally, stick with the winners. Among his favorite easy to grow tomatoes are Sungold, Sweet 100, Sweet Million, Juliet, Champion, Park's Whopper and Early Girl.
Do you like to plant from seeds? Do you know the correct depth to plant them? Do you know how to water a new seedbed so those seeds don’t go flying all over the place? Professor Debbie Flower has planting and watering tips for the new garden bed. The correct depth, she says, is 2-3 times the diameter of the height of the seed, when it's laying on a table. If the seeds are very small, just cover them with a light coating of vermiculite. For watering, Flower recommends a Dramm red soft shower nozzle for a newly planted seedbed so as to not disturb the seeds. She attaches that to the end of a long watering wand, and then turns the nozzle to face the sky, and lets the water gently hit the seedbed.
Do you have a tree in your yard that looks like it might just take a tumble onto your garden beds? We have tips for finding an expert in your area to make an on-site evaluation.
It’s all in Episode 15 of Garden Basics with Farmer Fred, and we’ll save you time here, too. We will do it all in under 30 minutes.
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