Tomatoes for the Home Garden – Part 1

Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 09:56 AM.

There are a couple of schools of thought on when to add fertilizer.  Some people believe in fertilizing the soil before planting.  In this system you apply 2.5 pounds of fertilizer for every 100 square feet of garden use an 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 with minor elements.  Do this a week before planting, and mix the fertilizer thoroughly into the soil.  Three weeks or so after you plant the tomatoes, and another two pounds of fertilizer per hundred square feet.  You should irrigate/water thoroughly to get the maximum benefit from the fertilizer.

In the other system, fertilizer isn’t added to the soil until planting time.  Apply 5.0 pounds of all-purpose fertilizer, such as 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 per 100 square feet.  Spread it in furrows three inches from either side of the garden row.  Three weeks after planting, apply 2.5 pounds of fertilizer as side-dressing.  Every ten days after that apply one more pound of fertilizer.  Always water it in well.

Before you set out the plants, make sure all danger of frost has passed.  Keep in mind that it’s easy to injure tomato transplants so choose the healthiest looking plants you can find and handle them gently.  It’s best to transplant on a cloudy day or late in the afternoon, and as soon as possible after a rain.

When setting the plants, it’s a good idea to set them slightly deeper than they were rowing at the nursery.  You also might want to add a cutworm control at the same time.  If you wait even a day before controlling cutworms, you might have to buy new plants.  If the tomato varieties you’re growing require staking, you can drive stakes into the soil at the time of planting.  Place the stakes three or four inches from the plant.  As the plant grows, simply tie it to the stake with string.

For more information on tomato production contact the Gulf County Extension Service @ 639-3200 or visit our website



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