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Tips For Growing A Bumper Crop Of Tomatoes
Posted By Tipnut On January 22, 2010 @ 6:17 am In Garden & Plants,Outdoor Gardening | 1 Comment
When: Seedlings should be planted in the Spring after all danger of frost has passed. You can either purchase these at a local greenhouse or try starting your own by seed (start indoors about 6 to 8 weeks before the last expected frost).
Plenty of light will be needed to prevent seedlings from becoming too “leggy” before they can be moved outdoors so either choose a warm, sunny location or make sure you have a grow light.
Once about 6″ tall, they’ll be ready for planting (smaller varieties like the dwarf will be ready around 4″ tall).
Location: Thrives in full sun and well draining soil. Prepare the soil by digging deeply and well so it’s nice and loose, mix in compost for best results. Raised garden beds  are an ideal location.
How To Plant: Start hardening seedlings about two weeks before you expect to move them outdoors. This is done by bringing them outside a few hours at a time, starting in sheltered locations and gradually stretching the length of time they stay outdoors. Cold frames are ideal for this (see this page  for some DIY options).
Once they’re accustomed to being outdoors for at least 6 hours a day, they should be ready for planting (if weather permits). Depending on the variety, leave at least 24″ between them and 30″ between rows (if they will be staked or caged) or 4 feet apart from each other and rows 6 feet apart if they will be free and unstaked. For the smaller, bushier varieties, 15″ apart should do it.
Applying about 3 inches of mulch will help hold the moisture and keep the soil temperature even.
Watering Conditions: Water regularly and if the weather is hot, daily. If the skin starts cracking–this is a sign of overwatering. Water at ground level rather than from the top down, this will ensure the water will reach the roots as well as prevent the leaves from getting scorched from the combination of water + sun. Do not allow to dry out.
During Season: Most will need to be staked or supported with cages or trellises  to keep vines off the ground, this offers protection from rot and disease (as well as saves space in the garden). Staking also helps expose them to more sun (which helps with ripening) and makes it easier to harvest. Strips of pantyhose or twine can be used for tying.
Cover with tarp or sheets overnight when there’s a danger of frost, but be sure to pick all the fruit before Fall’s first hard frost.
Harvesting: Once fully ripe, simply twist off the vine and store at room temperature. A length of the vine can also be snipped off and stored (keeping the tomatoes attached). Should they be refrigerated? No, to preserve their flavor, it is best to store in warm to room temperature.
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URL to article: http://tipnut.com/growing-tomatoes/
URLs in this post:
 this page: http://tipnut.com/tomato-seeds/
 Raised garden beds: http://tipnut.com/raised-garden-beds/
 this page: http://tipnut.com/how-to-build-a-cold-frame-with-an-old-window/
 trellises: http://tipnut.com/budget-trellis/
 compost tea: http://tipnut.com/compost-tea/
 for canning: http://tipnut.com/recipes-canning/
 DIY Twine-Stars: http://www.marthastewart.com/268331/twine-star-supports
 here: http://tipnut.com/ripen-tomatoes/
 basil: http://tipnut.com/grow-basil/
 garlic: http://tipnut.com/growing-garlic/
 are here: http://tipnut.com/green-tomato-recipes/
 Homemade Salsa Recipes For Canning: http://tipnut.com/homemade-salsa/
 details on this page: http://tipnut.com/sun-dried-tomatoes/
 this page: http://tipnut.com/diy-gear-tomatoes/
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