Grow It!, Harvest Time, Kath's Gardening Notebook
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Claim Your Tomato Stake!

Claim your stake with Garden Eats!

Tomatoes are America’s favorite home-grown vegetable. Nothing says summer like vine-ripened tomatoes! They’re easy to grow and offer many varieties. If you’ve chosen meaty Beefsteaks or bushy Cherries, your plants should be budding flowers by mid-June (wait, that’s now)!

Water Me Deep

Keeping your plants consistently watered will prevent blossom end rot, those oddly shaped cracks you sometimes see on the bottom of the fruit. Water in the morning to prevent disease, and always water the soil, not the plant.

Feed Me Please

Fertilize every 4-6 weeks with organic NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) 3-2-2 fish emulsion diluted in a one gallon container. Fish emulsion can be found at most garden centers. You might not enjoy the smell of this cocktail, but your tomatoes will thank you.

Buzz Off

Most garden pests will ignore your tomatoes, but be on the lookout for the tomato hornworm. One or two of these can devour a whole plant in a couple days! They are a 3-4 inch long green caterpillar that likes to hide on the underside of the leaves. Hand-pick them off the leaves, they don’t bite or sting.

Photo by Orna Izakson via Garden Medicine

Show Your Support

Once your plants start growing and producing fruit, they’ll be too top-heavy to stand up alone. You can stake them, but using tomato cages is much easier. Cage them right after planting to avoid breaking branches.

Check back in a few weeks when talk about how to save and store your seeds!

If tomatoes are the highlight of your garden, get us over at your place to help build a specialized trellis. You can find one of us here!

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1 Comment

  1. I’m big on tomatoes, too! But I use tripods to support my plants. They’re cheaper than a full-blown trellis and both cheaper and sturdier than tomato hoops. Made from spruce strapping, and variable in both height and length, I can support 20 tomato plants for about $10 in reusable supplies.

    The tripods are set into the earth at each end of the row, and a pole is set across the top. From that crosspole I drop lengths of twine that are tied loosely to the bottom of the tomato plant. As the plant grows I add loops of twine that loosely keep the main stalk and primary branches anchored to the twine. That supports the growing tomatoes. At the end of the season, I break the system down for easy, compact storage.

    For photos and directions, see the post, “Making and Using Garden Tripods” on my blog. Since I live in the country, aesthetics is not essential. However, using slightly nicer wood – even painting the legs with colorful vines and butterflies – would make a nice addition to a suburban backyard garden, imo. (Or, if you have the room, plant climbing vines around the tripod legs, like snap peas.)

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