Brad Gates, tomato expert and owner of Wild Boar Farms, knows everything about breeding and growing tomatoes. It’s always a pleasure to attend his lively and informative presentations at the National Heirloom Expo. Below are some valuable takeaways that will help you in becoming a more successful tomato grower!
Tips for Planting & Growing Tomatoes
- When transferring young plants to the ground, bury 1/3 of it in the soil.
- Let the plants grow for about 3 weeks, then prune the first 4-6 leaves from the ground up.
- Prune tomato plants that begin growing a foot over the cage- don’t let them flop or hang over!
- If pruned laterally, plants can be planted pretty close, about a foot apart- for more variety in a small space. This works out well for container growing.
- For a lot of plants, space them 18” apart in rows that are 5’ apart- for better weed management.
- For row planting, rows should run north/south.
- Splitting and cracking tomatoes are due to too much water.
- Deep water (all the way down to the bottom of the beds) every 2-3 days at first. Once the tomatoes begin growing, cut back deep watering to every 4-5 days.
- Fertilize 1tsp per gallon of liquid fertilizer once a week. It’s bad to over-fertilize, and good to give little consistent doses.
- Curly leaves indicate a virus. Use gloves and throw infected leaves/vines in the trash.
- Current favorite varieties: Atomic Grape, Barry’s Crazy Cherry.
Click on Wild Boar Farms for more information and seed ordering!