tomatobookcb – Growing Veggies Growing Veggies

tomatobookcb – Growing Veggies Growing Veggies


Did you know that more people grow tomatoes than any other vegetable? (Well, technically it’s a fruit, but most people think it’s a vegetable!) And with over 11,000 varieties to choose from—you’re bound to have your own favourites.

There are the mini cherry varieties – like the sweet little Tommy Toe all the way to the huge beefier varieties like Black Krim with charcoal colored flesh. Some varieties have a real “bite” and others are deliciously sweet. The delicious Black Russian is very juicy and full of flavour. Tigerella has gorgeous striped red fruit and contrasts well in salads with Beams Yellow Pear.

Once you savor the delicious flavor of ripe, home-grown tomatoes, it’s hard to go back to buying supermarket varieties. However, growing healthy, flavor-rich tomatoes isn’t always easy. . . There are all kinds of things that can go wrong and destroy plants and fruits before you even get your first taste.

Professional growers don’t leave it to chance – they get expert help, so they have the best scientific information. Australian expert Lucia Grimmer has been helping professional growers for years – and now she’s sharing her knowledge with home growers.

The following information is excerpted from her book How to Grow Juicy Tasty Tomatoes, which was developed with co-author and publisher Annette Welsford. The book provides step-by-step tips and advice on how to grow tomatoes that you can use to help you dramatically increase the health and yield of your crop. Not only that—your tomatoes will have more flavor and will be sweeter than what they’ve ever tasted of any store-bought variety.

Heirlooms are the wonderfully flavorful varieties that have been cultivated for hundreds of years – all over the world. They are more delicious than the hybrids, but the payoff is a higher susceptibility to disease and a shorter shelf life. Many new hybrid varieties are being bred to be resistant to some common diseases and have a longer shelf life. The payoff is reduced flavour, thicker skins, and unreliable (and sometimes sterile) seeds.

The varieties you choose should be appropriate for your climate because large, healthy plants produce better-tasting tomatoes. Tomatoes are described by the size, shape, use of the fruit, the stage of the season at which the fruit appears and the growth habits of the plant. (See pages 11-15 and our database of 1,300 species.)

Grow from seed – in a seed tray, peat pot, rockwool cubes or make your own from newspaper. It is very important that you use the correct growing medium and that you mist regularly. The temperature is also important. The minimum temperature is 15-29°C (60-84°F). (See page 26 for tips on sowing seeds and maximizing germination.)

Transplanting Seedlings – The soil temperature should be above 15°C (60°F) with no danger of frost. It is also important that they are spaced properly for root and canopy development. The correct spacing depends on the variety. (See page 27 for tips on when to plant, how to plant, and correct spacing.)

Plant the tomatoes in a sunny position

You need a sunny area, sheltered from strong winds, with good quality loamy soil. Soil quality is critical to healthy plant growth. Check soil type and pH first and adjust if necessary using our techniques to turn poor soil into rich loam. We also suggest adding organic matter and digging them well in the two weeks before planting, to ensure your plants get the best start. Finally, be sure to mulch the soil to conserve moisture and keep the roots cool in the hot months. (See pages 16-24 for in-depth details on how to prepare soil and correct problems with clay, sandy, rocky, or compacted soil. This section also provides tips on drainage, composting, mulching, and preparing commercial plots.)

If you prefer to grow in pots, use a deep, well-drained pot (at least 30 cm deep) filled with a good quality potting mix. You will need to add the right fertilizer mix at the correct growth stage of the plant and maintain a strict watering regimen. Plants in pots need more frequent fertilizing and watering, compared to plants in garden beds. Not all varieties do well in pots, so be sure to choose the ones that do well. (See page 25 for everything you need to know about growing in containers.)

The suckers affect the strength of the main stem, so remove them by squeezing them to improve the plant’s health, vigor, and fruit size. Make sure to remove the correct! (See pages 34-35 for tips on the correct way to prune tomatoes.) Stickiness supports the vine and helps spread the canopy for even growth, good airflow, and keeping fruit off the soil. (See pages 28-35 for a comparison of 11 storage methods.)

Tomatoes require an even supply of water throughout the season because irregular watering will lead to tomato problems. Not enough water can cause fruit to crack and over watering or over watering can lead to a higher level of bacterial and fungal diseases. (See pages 36-39 for step-by-step instructions on determining how much water your tomato patch will need, how to set up an effective watering system and how to water tomatoes in pots.)

Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Browning, University of Nebraska

Photo: Courtesy of E Epstein and AJ Bloom

Applying the correct fertilizer combinations at each stage of growth is critical to maximizing yield and producing delicious tomatoes. Many people assume this is sufficient because soil contains organic matter. it’s not like that! Compost or granular fertilizer takes time to decompose, so your plants may be starving and will need supplementation—especially when flowering begins. There are 3 main nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) that plants need, and they need them in different proportions during their life cycle. For example, too much nitrogen from fruit and beyond results in fruit cells being thin, soft, disease-prone, and lacking in flavour. Your plants may also need other types of trace elements, including calcium, zinc, magnesium and boron, depending on the health of your soil. (See pages 41-46 for in-depth advice and help with proper nutrition for tomato plants, including how to identify and correct nutritional excesses or deficiencies.)

Photo: Courtesy of Randy Gardner, North Carolina State University

Photo: Courtesy of T. Zetter, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Photo: Queen’s Printer Courtesy of Ontario

Tomatoes can be seriously affected by pests and diseases, especially in warm, humid climates. It doesn’t take long to lose a crop to pests or diseases, so you need to check your plants regularly for symptoms and get them under control quickly. Common diseases include wilt, leaf spot, blight, downy mildew, canker, black rot, root rot, fruit rot, viruses, and nematodes. (See pages 47-52 for pictures and descriptions of these diseases and recommended controls.)

Photo: Courtesy of Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University

Photo: Courtesy of the University of Kentucky

Pests are the bane of tomato growers—especially in hot, humid regions. It is important to keep your tomato patch free of weeds and debris and to control pests quickly. Common pests include aphids, thrips, cutworms, bollworms, whiteflies, stinging bugs, spider mites, fruit flies, slugs, snails, nematodes and birds. (See pages 53-56 for pictures of common pests and recommended controls.)

Photo: Carey Lapierre Harmon, University of Florida

Photo: Courtesy of the University of Massachusetts

Photo: Courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder

Sometimes a plant or fruit presents with problems that are not caused by diseases or pests, but which still affect the quality of the fruits. Common problems include peeling, flower end rot, sunburn, blossom drop, fruit drop, leaf roll, and fruit crack. (See pages 57-58 for common physiological problems and recommended controls.)

With the proliferation of dangerous chemicals affecting our health and environment, more and more gardeners are turning to the old-fashioned organic farming methods. Growing tomatoes organically depends on careful soil preparation, practicing good hygiene, using appropriate organic fertilizers, following accompanying planting guidelines and using nature-based solutions to control pests and diseases. Some people also believe that planting with the phases of the moon also provides better results. (See pages 61-68 for expert advice and tips on organic gardening.)

If you live in a cooler climate, growing your tomatoes in a greenhouse is a great way to protect against weather damage and get an extra-early start to the growing season. It is important to locate the greenhouse in the right place, prepare the floor, make sure you have good ventilation and keep the temperature stable. Illnesses are common in greenhouses, so hygiene is paramount. (See pages 70-71 for full details on how to choose and maintain a greenhouse.)

Following your advice my plants are 4 times bigger than before, I have read and re-read the book over and over and now have a better understanding of tomato life from start to finish. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into this information and putting it into consideration to make it easier to understand. I did an experiment by putting into practice what you said in your book in my hot house. One plant you made your way, the other my way as I always did. I did the same experiment with people on the ground and they did better. I can’t believe the rate of growth of the plant – the stem is thicker, the leaves have more color and are stronger all around. Most of the books I’ve brought on tomatoes are ok but they don’t give you an understanding of the tomato life cycle that’s as easy to understand as your information does. I can’t even think of anything I can say that would improve what you both did 10/10 from me. Two ladies have restored my faith in the human race because your book and the asking price for the book show that there are still some people out there who offer more than value for your money. I’m more than happy to back up my email and let anyone who wants to contact me know about it, that’s what I said.

Brett Scott, South Australia

(Brett sent us photos of his experiments. These plants were planted at the same time, first using his traditional method of care, then following instructions in How to Grow Delicious Tomatoes, and same for plants in pots)

When done your way, the plants are 4 times the size of the others

Get expert advice now – get your own copy of How to Grow Juicy Tasty Tomatoes. Our collection of Juicy Tasty Tomatoes books has proven to be a valuable resource and we cherish it. Now in its second printing, the 80-page “The Tomato Bible” is illustrated with more than 260 color photos, and contains everything the home gardener needs to know about growing healthy and delicious tomatoes. The book was co-authored by Lucia Grimmer – a world-renowned expert in plant pathology and plant nutrition and full-time consultant to professional growers. Now she shares her secrets with home gardeners!

This is the table of contents

This book, which has sold more than 11,250 copies in 88 countries, is a comprehensive 80-page color scientific guide to growing tomatoes in every type of climate, and includes:

Bonus 1: A database of tomato varieties

Each package will contain our comprehensive CD, containing planting notes and details on purchasing seeds for over 1,300 varieties.

Bonus 2: Common Tomato Problems A ready account

The incredibly detailed Ready Reckoner features images of common diseases, pests, and abnormalities, making it easy for you to identify any problems that may occur.

Bonus 3: Tomato Growth Stage Planting Guide

A very useful chart that shows you what needs to be done at each stage of growth, from pre-planting to flowering and harvesting.

Bonus 4: Conversion Guide

A handy guide that shows you how to turn almost anything into anything!

Bonus 5: Increasing Diary

Use it to log everything you do – fertilizing, watering, pruning, laying, varieties, etc. and what’s going on. So next year you can look back and see what you planted and where, what problems you had (if any), what corrective action you took and what the results were.

Bonus 6: Our Tomato Family Cookbook

A great collection of cooking ideas from around the world. Almost all of these have been donated by customers, friends, and family and some have been passed down for generations, and your recipient will be delighted with these wonderful tomato recipes.

We hope you will soon be enjoying the best tasting tomatoes you’ve ever tasted!

Lucia Grimmer, MScCo-Author

Annette Wellsford

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