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  • ALL I KNOW ABOUT TOMATOES

    Posted on May 27th, 2011 Pam No comments

    I love tomatoes, especially the homemade kind. Here is how I grow tomatoes the easy way.
    NOTE: I usually complete one step before moving onto the next.

    1. I dig a hole in the ground with a shovel, the hole should be about 8″ deep and 8″ wide.
    2. Then I put about three Tablespoons of garden fertilizer in the hole. NOTE: It is VERY IMPORTANT to water in the fertilizer, DO NOT put the fertilizer in the hole and plant the tomato on top of it, THE TOMATO WILL BURN, TURN YELLOW AND DIE !!!!!!! Just ask me, I killed several last year.
    3. Next fill the hole with water.
    4. After the water has disappeared, I plant the tomato.
    5. Make sure you label the tomato, by inserting the name tag in the ground next to the plant.
    6. I put a gallon can over the tomato, make sure both ends are removed.
    7. Then place a tomato cage over the top, place the wires in the ground outside the can.
    That is all there is to it. I fertilize about once a month, there is a fertilizer just for tomatoes and I usually use it. But you can use a regular garden fertilizer too.
    8. Sometimes the tomato plants have baby tomatoes on them or blossoms, it is best to remove these when transplanting tomato plants. The tomato needs to use it’s energy toward establishing the roots and not toward making fruit, just pinch off the blossoms. The first tomatoes on a plant usually aren’t that good anyway.

    I learned from my friend Joan that tomatoes are self pollinators. They don’t need other plants to pollinate with, they don’t need bees to spread the pollin either. You can help them pollinate by just shaking the tomato cage a little.
    After the tomatoes begin to form, you can trim the vines or branches that do not have any tomatoes on them. They are just robbing the tomatoes of energy they need. I usually take scissors to cut them. It is a very easy job, and will make your tomatoes ripen faster and grow larger. Cut almost all of the branches that don’t have tomatoes on them. Don’t trim all of them though, leave some on the top and a few on the sides or the tomatoes will sunburn. Later in the season, you can trim the top of the tomato plant too. Most of the new blossoms will not make it to maturity anyway, so trim those branches too.

    You can also save the seeds from tomatoes for planting next year. Here are my recommendations.
    1. Make sure the tomato isn’t a hybrid, choose an heirloom, you may need to do some research to find out if your ‘favorite’ tomato is an heirloom..
    2. Make your choice before you plant, so you can space the tomato at least five feet from others not of the same kind. This way it won’t mix with other types. I plan to plant them in a different area of my garden.
    3. Choose a tomato that will be good for the area. Don’t chose one won’t ripen easily here.
    4. As the plants are growing, pick the plant that looks healthy and is a great producer, watch it through the season.
    5. Mark that plant and watch it, do not pick too many of the tomatoes, do taste tests.
    6. Pick the tomato for saving when it is a little over ripe.
    7. Open the tomato and put just the seeds into water, a plastic cup works great.
    8. Let the tomato ferment in the same water for about 5 days.
    9. Wash the seeds in a strainer and dry on a paper towel. It works best if you put a few towels on the bottom and one on the top then pat dry.
    10. Continue to dry the seeds on a paper plate, turning once or twice a day, don’t dry on a paper towel, the seeds will stick to it and make it very difficult to remove.
    11. When the seeds are completely dry, (1 to 2 weeks), store in a zip loc bag. Put a few small holes in the bag, a fork works great.
    12. Store them in a cool, dry, dark place, I use a tin container.
    13. You can test a few of your seeds to see if they will sprout. Placing them on a wet paper towel and place them in a zip lock bag. Check every few days to see if they have sprouted. It is good to test about 10 seeds, if 8 or 9 sprout, that is a great. If you only have one or two, better luck next year.

    Updated version from my gardenyourlife blog. Wednesday, June 17, 2009