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Terrific Tomatoes Naturally

How about those white, pasty, tasteless tomatoes in the grocery store during the winter? If your store offers vine ripe tomatoes, how about the price?

Follow this recipe for tasty success

Rotate your tomato crop with different plants like beans, lettuce or carrots yearly. If you’re limited to one planting area, make sure to amend your soil with 2 inches of organic matter every season. Tomatoes drain the soil of nutrients plus diseases can build up in your planting areas, Amend your soil in the spring and fall with applications of Nature’s Blend with composted cotton burr, composted cattle manure, alfalfa and humate. If your soil is heavy clay use Back to Nature Cotton Burr Compost along with Nature’s Blend. Apply these products at 1 bag per 6 square feet.

Purchase tomato plants that are not overgrown in their containers. Select plants that are short and stout with thick stems not pot bound. Determinate tomatoes (good for containers) usually don’t need staking, the tomatoes come in one flush. Once harvested, determinate are done for the season. Indeterminate tomatoes require staking and produce all season.

A tomato with a good balance of sweet and tart flavors along with great disease resistance is the Pesche’s Select. These indeterminate tomatoes produce blemish free fruit about the size of a baseball all summer long! Pesche’s Select tomatoes are excellent long keepers. You can ripen the green tomatoes that are left on the vine before frost using the ‘Apple Trick’. Place the green tomatoes in a cardboard box one inch apart. Put an apple in the middle of the box and set it in a cool, dry place. The gas the apple emits will help ripen the tomatoes. A Pesche’s Select in my garden produced 189 tomatoes. I finished my last tomato on New Year’s Eve!

Plant your tomatoes when the soil temperature hits 60 degrees. Tomatoes in cold soil don’t grow and can become stunted and slow down the production. Plant your tomatoes deep! Bury the plant halfway up the stem, leaves and all. Roots will grow on branches and the buried stem, the more roots, the more tomatoes! Place ¼ cup of Dr. Earth Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer into the planting hole, mix well and sit the roots on top of the Starter Plus. Dr. Earth Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer is an all natural plant food that includes beneficial microbes, humates and mycorrhizae to help plants establish fast, promote roots, better blooms and improve soil structure. Fill soil around the tomato stems, firm in place and water well. As the plants become taller remove bottom branches so soil cannot splash back on leaves during heavy rains, you’ll want a stem about 2 feet without branches. This type of pruning will help prevent soil born diseases like Septoria leaf spot which causes bottom leaves to yellow with brown spots, eventually browning completely and working up the plant ruining the plants and fruit. Mulching with straw (not hay!) red or black plastic or compost helps as buffer against splash back. If leave spot has been a yearly problem, spray your plants with Bonide’s Liquid Copper Fungicide in early August every 10 days till harvest. Fertilize every 3 weeks with an application of Dr. Earth Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer. Surface dress the area around the stem with about ½ cup.

Tomatoes require full sun, space them about 3’ apart for air circulation. Give your tomatoes 1 inch of water a week, Water the soil, not the plant. DO NOT water at night. DON’T put your plants to sleep with wet feet! Save a plastic gallon milk jug with the cap, put a small hole in the center of the bottom. Fill the jug with water and set it next to the tomato stem and loosen the cap slightly. It’ll take about 6-7 hours to drip one gallon. Next time you water, move the jug 180 degrees around the plant and a little further out. Working for their water will make your tomatoes develop strong roots.

Since tomatoes are heavy feeders, add 1 ounce of Neptune’s Harvest Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer to the gallon jug and let it drip feed. Do this every couple of weeks. Large indeterminate plants require good support. Use a large stake to support main stems and a heavy duty tomato cage to support foliage. Use soft plastic stretch tape to tie the stem to the center stake. Bonide Bon-Neem insecticidal soap specially formulated spray that kills mites, pests and powdery mildew spore, hyphae and colonies on contact. A natural combination of pesticide and fungicide, this product is derived from Neem tree seeds and you can safely apply Bon-Neem to day of harvest.

Remember, bees are your garden’s best friends! Plant some Bee Balm, Cat Mint or Zebrina Mallow plants near your tomato patch. The bees will buzz right in there and do the pollination!

Now you have a recipe for Terrific Tomatoes grown naturally. All the products mentions in this article are natural/organic & earth friendly!

Your day dreams about juicy, delicious tomatoes can come true!

Companies Referenced:
http://www.drearth.com
http://www.neptunesharvest.com/