tomatoe growing : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread


Have a question for all you tomatoe growers out there. What is your best method of growing tomatoes? Oh, I know there will be lots of answers, but I am focusing on fertilizer (manure, and soil and caging vs. not caging, staking sort of answers?) I live in GA so it gets hot and dry here and we have dug out the holes 2 feet down and about 18 inches wide - now to put some good stuff in there to feed the plants. Any and all ideas are welcome, cause I hate the baseball tomatoes in the stores!

-- Cindy (, April 28, 2001


Ebsom salts are good for tomato's they have potasum dale

-- Dale (, April 28, 2001.

4 plants on the outside of a fencewire ring filled with about 300 lbs of compost,manure and wormcast to provide leach watered fertilization.

-- Jay Blair in N. Al (, April 28, 2001.

Cindy, I'm in GA too. All we do is cage the tomatoes and pray for rain.

-- Deena in GA (, April 28, 2001.

Hello Cindy, Some of the best tomatoes I have tasted came from Georgia, also pecans, peaches and sugar cane. Anyway, Tomatoes love acid keep you pH in the low ranges 5 or so. I prefer caging my tomotoes as they grow taller and more fuller with the extra support. One of the things that I do to insure that they get plenty of water at the roots, (where it is most important) is to cut the bottoms out of plastic milk jugs or soad bottles and bury one (neck down) next to each plant. When it is time to water the tomato plants I just fill the jug up with water and allow it to be absorbed into the root structure. This is better than watering them from on top of the ground as water tends to evaporate and much of it does not make it to the roots. I also sucker the tomato plants. Once you have a stem producing flowers or tomatoes you break off the ones that are not producing. This allows the plant to send more nutrients to the fruit producing stems. To prevent cut worms I plant the young tomato plant inside a toilet paper tube. I gentle slip the tube over the young plant and bury it a couple of inches in the soil at the same time I transplant the plant to my garden. The cut worms will be unable to climb onto the stem of the plant and leave them alone. I also like to plant onions/garlic/basil near my plants these are great companions to tomatoes and help prevent several insects that like tomatoes but, hate onions/garlic/basil from attacking you beefsteaks and damaging them. I never use chemicals on my plants and have had many successful gardens of tomatoes by using these methods. My experience has proven successful in several states as well, from Pennslyvania, North Carolina, Florida, and now Missouri. Hope it helps you as much. When you harvest your beauties, let us know and we will give you some of our canning recipes. Meli has a great one for spagetti sauce and another great one for salsa. Sincerely, Ernest

-- (, April 29, 2001.

Thanks for the help, this year we are putting a lot more effort into growing tomatoes as sauce and ketchup are getting so expensive. I am hoping that from the eight plants we will get enough to can and make some sauce, but don't know as last year the deer ate all the tomatoes right off the vines. This year it's electric fencing and shooting over their heads which so far has made them wary enough to stay away from the garden. It's funny but the deer have 32 acres to roam over and think that I plant a garden just for them! :>) Thanks to all who responded, it sure is nice to have such good neighbors.

-- Cindy (, April 29, 2001.

For the deer and other critters in the garden at night, after a bunch of raccoons ruined a whole six rows of corn , I bought a cheap portable radio, and put in box and turned it to a all night talk program, and turned it up loud, and put in the middle of my garden, just keep putting batteries in and move it around, I didn"t have any more problems,Irene

-- Irene Orsborn (, April 29, 2001.

Cindy -

If you know someone who has rabbits, their 'stuff' is great fertilizer and can be used "straight from the source". If you over-fertilize though, you will get plenty of plant and very little fruit. Don't overdo the nitrogen!!

I always prune the lower 'branches' off my plants, as they grow, up to a max of 12" from the ground. They need a lot of water after they bloom, while the fruits are developing.

Also, always, always stake or in some other way support indeterminate vining tomatoes!! The fruits are too heavy for the branches, and they will break. I have run them up fences, nets and used cages. To my thinking, the cages sold in stores are way too short. Might be better (and cheaper, if you have a lot of plants) to stick three poles in the ground around each plant, and use either string or old shredded bedsheets (Gram did that).

-- Sue Diederich (, April 30, 2001.

Hi Cindy. I usually buy transplants for my garden. When I transplant, I make a tea out of chicken manure. Two shovels full per 30 gal. trash can full of water. When I transplant I dig a hole just big enough for the tomato plant, I then put in a small handfull of crushed up egg shells. I put my tomato plant into the hole and pour in one large cup of manure tea. I then cover up hole with dirt. As for cage versus stakes, I've had great success with both. Also, this tea can be used for any other transplants as well.

-- Russell Hays (, May 03, 2001.

In my own earnest, I have not been able to grow one full fledged, vine ripened tomato. They fell off, or did nothing. The grocery tomatoes, are a mockery. At least I have the childhood memory of walking through the Tomato plants, stopping to pick one, very ripe red tomato, and sinking young teeth into the fruit, sans salt. It was Wonderful!

-- City Slicker (, May 04, 2001.

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