How To Grow Tomatoes
Scientific Name: Lycopersicon lycopersicum
Light: Full sun
Soil Type: Rich, sandy loam
Soil Temperature: 70 – 80°
ph Range: 5.5 – 7.0
Watering: Keep soil moist but not soggy
Plant (Payson): May 15 – July 15
Planting Method: Seed or transplant
Germination (days): 6 – 14
Transplant: Recommended – when days and soil are warm
Plant Characteristics: Sprawling – trellis or cage for best results
Maturity (days): 70 – 90
Common Pests: Tomato Hornworm, aphids, early blight, bacterial spot
Common Diseases: Curly top, tobacco mosaic, septoria leaf-spot, bacterial spot, early Blight, fusarium wilt, environmental problems: sun scald, blossom end rot and cracking
There are many varieties to choose from including beefsteaks, slicers, paste (Roma types), cherry and grape.
They are also classified as Determinate and Indeterminate. Determinate types grow to a certain height then stop and produce all their tomatoes at once. Indeterminate types will continue to grow foliage and tomatoes though out the season and will need staking and possibly pruning.
Plant tomatoes in a fairly rich soil that is well drained.
Wait until the soil warms to 70° or use black plastic to warm the soil.
Tomatoes should be planted 18”-24” apart. Deeply cultivate each planting hole, add plenty of compost.
CARE & GROWING
Mulch is recommended to maintain even soil moisture and to protect the plant from any soil borne diseases.
Never spray tomato plants during the heat of the day. Water at soil level or below the soil with drip irrigation.
Side dress monthly. Do not add excessive nitrogen.
Weeds may be eliminated by using a good mulch.
Choose disease resistant cultivars. Many diseases common to tomatoes are spread by insects. Using floating row covers will help stop them.
Tomatoes contain solanine that acts as an insect repellent. Most bugs stay away, but is the most common exception. Flea beetles, white flies and aphids may be a problem for small plants and may spread disease.
Sunscald: too much sun on the tomatoes. Provide shade if necessary.
Blossom End Rot: a calcium deficiency may not happen if planted with bone meal and Epsom salts.
Cracking: Heavy rains and hot weather can cause cracking.
Harvest when tomatoes reach their ripe color (which varies) and are slightly soft to the touch. If a hard frost is expected, remove all fully formed tomatoes, including green ones, and ripen indoors.
To aid in your gardening success, here are some useful, trusted links for more information on tomatoes. Please remember Payson Community Garden is an organic garden. Some of these sites may contain recommendations for non-organic products. Please see this website or Plant Fair Nursery website for a list of recommended products that meet the organic standards of Payson Community Garden.