Tending Your Tomatoes

Sweetie tomato growing on my deck. Notice the size of the pot.

Regular size tomato plant that needs an additional stake.

Pinching tomato suckers

Tying tomatoes on stakes

Caged tomato

Fertilizer I use in my containerized tomatoes to prevent blossom end rot

Typical tomato problems that might occur.

My tomatoes have grown considerably over the last few days with all the rain. Some of my smallest plants did not survive (not sure why, maybe bacterial wilt) while the established plants loved it. My containerized plants did especially well, because they have good drainage. So with fruit set and this much rain, I will fertilize them again soon. For those in the garden I use a 1/3 to 1/2 cup of 15-0-15 fertilizer worked in around the drip line of the plant, and for the containers I like a fertilizer that has calcium, like the one shown above, to prevent blossom end rot. Also with all the growth, make sure you remove the suckers on the plant. If they are small you can simply break them out, but if they have gotten large cut them out with clippers. I like to keep my foliage and fruit off the ground, so I cage as many as I can in the garden, stake the others and stake the pots. Most of the time I am guilty of not staking with a stake tall enough. Like the one in the pot above, I will add another, but I do not remove the one that is already supporting the plant. One bit of caution, while we have had much rain, tomatoes like even moisture, so do not let the soil get too dry in the pots or in the garden before you water them again. If you are having issues, the chart above should help you diagnose your problem. One last point, I like to mulch my garden plants with pine straw to keep down the weeds and help keep them from getting too dry between waterings.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

2 thoughts on “Tending Your Tomatoes

  1. Dr. Floyd——-per usual the plants you gave me are fabulous. Harvested
    my first baby orange tomatoes today,Yum

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