Tomato Update - And a Watering Tip

Saturday, May 26, 2007
I transplanted our tomatoes into the garden about four weeks ago. I have six plants in total: four San Marzanos and two Brandywines.

When I set the plants in the ground, I added bone meal to the soil. I've since also given them two light feedings of fish emulsion mixed with water. The fish emulsion provides calcium, which is one of the essential nutrients tomatoes need to develop well. (Calcium deficiency is one of the causes of blossom-end rot, which can be a problem with tomatoes. Irregular watering is another.)

At our garden association's spring meeting in April, Linda, the chair of our Agriculture Committee, handed out a paper with tips on growing tomatoes. One of the tips was: "Avoid wetting leaves of tomatoes. It promotes fungus and other diseases."

This was news to me. It seems like a basic tip I should have learned three years ago when I started the garden, but somehow I missed that one. Now I'm being extra careful to water the plants down at the base. To aid in this, I remove most of the lowest hanging leaves (especially as they start to yellow).

So far so good. The plants look healthy. They've developed strong stems and they're filling out with a lot of new leaves. A couple of them already have their first blossoms -- the bright yellow stars that portend the fruits to come. I can't wait.


Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

Interesting post. Your tomatoes look awesome. I've heard about not wetting the leaves of the tomatoes, but I've watered mine for years with overhead sprinklers and no problems. (Of course remember I'm living here in the desert, where there is practically no humidity. I'm sure that makes a difference.) Very jealous of the San Marzano tomatoes.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ah, I wish I had room for six plants. My four are already eating up all the space designated for them. Your plants look lovely and healthy already. Thanks for the watering tips--I've been watering without watching out for the leaves, so this will make me more vigilant.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Carol Michel said...

Your tomato plants do look very healthy. I sometimes water overhead with a sprinkler, just to save time, and so far, I haven't had too many disease problems. Though if I did, I'd watch how I watered.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Whyite said...

Your Tomatoes look very well.

I seen something about not getting the leaves wet years ago. Sometimes I get in a hurry and water from the top. Makes sense.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Annie in Austin said...

Your San Marzanos look great, Christa. We have a San Marzano that has barely grown! Since the adjacent tomatoes are doing just fine maybe there was something wrong with the plant when we bought it. Oh well, we'll enjoy yours...

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

10:10 PM  
Blogger CG said...

I've never heard that about not watering the leaves. Your plants look very healthy and strong!

6:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an interesting and useful post. I found some self seeded tomato plants do you think they will bear fruit?
Sara from farmingfriends in the UK

10:03 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

I don't see any reason why the self-seeded tomato plants wouldn't bear fruit. In fact, seeds that survive in the ground through the winter or in the compost bin tend to be stronger because they've acclimated to your local conditions, climate, etc. I'd say, give them a try!

8:20 AM  
Blogger Molly said...

Those are great looking tomatoes! I love San Marzanos. They make the best tomato sauce ever. Brandywines never did well for me, I think because the nights are too cold. I may try them again some year, with my heating cable system, because they are so good.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good choice with the San Marzano - i'm growing these as well. But watch out for blossom end rot - it was a real probelm for me with them last year!

11:52 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

about the watering tip, my grandad always insists on placing a small, empty plant pot into the soil next to the tomato plant. He then uses this to water the plant by filling it with water...job done!

11:55 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

That's a good tip. When the soil is very dry, I've been having trouble with the water running off the surface and away from the plants. I can see how using a pot (a clay pot?) would keep the water where we want it. Thanks for sharing this idea.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Where fibers meet mud said...

guess the sprinkler I use of convenience is not helping the tomatotes really - humph! I guess more mulch is in order because I surely cannot water all them at the root - - - maybe a sprinkler that is a soaker - now there is a thought...

11:22 PM  

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