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Growing your tomatoes

Tomatoes are the most popular home grown garden vegetable and no wonder why. Nothing compares with the fresh-picked flavor of a tomato right off the vine! Tomatoes sprinkled with pepper; sliced tomato on a hamburger; and what is a salad without tomatoes?!

There are two types of tomatoes: Determinate and Indeterminate.

Determinate: Determinate varieties, commonly referred to as “bush” varieties, typically only grow to about 3 feet in height. They produce their fruit all at once and are often preferred by people who like to can.

Indeterminate: Indeterminate varieties, commonly referred to as “vining” varieties, can grow quite tall - at least to 5 feet and sometimes much taller. They produce fruit throughout the season.

Planting: Tomatoes love sun. Plant tomatoes in a sunny location in well-drained, rich soil. Tomatoes require at least 6 to 8 hours of sun every day and prefer up to 10 hours. Give tomatoes plenty of room to grow - space plants not less than 3-4 feet apart. Set out transplants after all danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed. Plant tomato transplants deeply – they root along their stem and this helps develop both a stronger root system and plant. All tomatoes should be staked or caged for support to keep them off the ground to avoid contamination and rot.

Watering & Feeding: Water deeply and regularly. Uneven watering can lead to blossom end rot and cracking. Always water at the base of the plant. Moisture on leaves can result in fungal diseases. Reduce soil moisture evaporation by mulching around the plants. Tomatoes are heavy feeders. Fertilize with compost tea, worm casting tea, diluted fish emulsion, or other liquid fertilizer every 10 days to 2 weeks after they start to set fruit.

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