10+ Tomato Growing Tips & Talk for Success: Do's, Don'ts, What's & Why's for New Gardeners!

Posted by Gary Pilarchik on

Growing tomatoes is a little more than digging a hole and planting it, but not as complicated as many make it out to be. Here is a list of tips that will help you grow large, productive and healthy tomato plants. The video covers all the main points in detail.

1) Purple stems and undersides of leaves are normal and a sign of a healthy plant when the rest of it is green.

2) Purple veining and yellowing can be a sign of under nutrition or over fertilizing. It is important to feed your plants low and steady amounts of (N)itrogen (P)hosphorous and (K) Potassium. 

3) N-P-K are on your fertilizer bags and usually represented like this, 3-7-4 which means N-3, P-7, K-4. That is the percentage of N, P, and K in the fertilizer.  A 3-7-4 fertilizer is 3% nitrogen, 7% phosphorous and 4% potassium

4) I recommend fertilizers that are around a 5-5-5 give or take a few numbers in either direction. The key is to not over fertilizer but supply a low steady amount of nutrients to your plants.

5) Water soluble fertilizer means your plants can use the nutrients immediately. The plant will absorb nutrients via its leaves and roots.

 

 

6) Tomato plants send out deep roots and surface roots. When you top dress your soil the plant uses its surface roots to quickly access the nutrients.

7) Blossom End Rot or (BER) is the browning of the underside or blossom end of your tomatoes. It is related to your plant not being able to access calcium. While it is rare for soil not to have calcium, adding just a little limestone can assure the calcium is present.

8) Mulching helps manage moisture. Blossom End Rot (BER) is more often due to your plant not being able to access available calcium due to watering issues. Even watering allows plant roots to access nutrients. Mulching helps with this.

9) Slowly removing the bottom leaves of your tomato plant creates a disease splash barrier between leaves and soil and helps with air circulation.

10) There are many ways to plant your tomato plants. Plant about 1/3 to 1/2 of the stem when planting your transplants and space them 2-3 feet apart to allow for air circulation. 

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2 comments

  • Hi Gary! Hoping you can help!

    First, I’m a first time ‘from seed’ gardener. I followed your videos through the winter and have an absolutely amazing garden right now! Things are going great… BUT… not sure what is happening on my tomato plants.

    I live in lower Delaware and we’ve been having crazy weather. Intense rain and intense sun. The lower leaves on my tomatoes have a ‘jurassic park’ kinda look. I’m not sure if this is sun burn, if it’s a mosaic virus, I just can’t figure it out.

    The tops of the plants look good and bushy while the lower are kind of thin. They’re growing strong and tall. I first noticed this issue after day 1 of the hardening off process. Because the weather was so crazy, I hardened them off for 2 weeks about an hour a day. The leaf pattern was also on some old original leaves which look good now. I’m hoping it’s sunburn.

    Any advice?

    Pamela on
  • Love your post about tomatoes! How often do you feed tomatoes during the growing season?

    Melanie on

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