There is nothing more satisfying than biting into a tomato you grew in your garden. Homegrown tomatoes are great for your health, save you money on groceries, and give you more time to spend in your garden!
When growing homegrown tomatoes, you’ll want to be aware of things like pests, watering, fertilizer, and disease prevention methods. We have the best secrets to keep them juicy and thriving in Pennsylvania all season long.
If you see an insect in your tomato or vegetable garden, you mustn’t immediately rush for whatever insecticide you have on hand in your garden shed. A wide variety of insects are beneficial (or at least friendly) and help maintain the balance of your garden’s ecosystem! First, identify the pest in your garden, then you will be able to identify the best method to send them packing!
Aphids are a common tomato pest that form tiny clusters on the stems of tomato plants. While they are not harmful in moderation, an infestation will gradually deter the growth of the vegetables in your garden. You can employ natural methods, such as pinching off the foliage with aphids and throwing these pieces away, but don’t put them in your compost! Other garden pests commonly found on tomato plants include stink bugs, leaf-footed bugs, fruit worms, and hornworms, which you can treat with contact insecticides or neem oil.
Using a fungicide will help you manage many plant diseases, including leaf curl, powdery mildew, black spot, rust, anthracnose, and bacterial leaf spot. Alternatively, you can fix some diseases by supplementing the soil; for blossom-end rot, adding calcium to your soil will help with deficiency and keep your tomatoes fresh. If you need help identifying tomato plant diseases, bring in a photo to Primex Garden Center and we’ll help you find the right solution to your problem.
Supporting your growing tomato plants is essential to ensure that your stems are supported as they start to bear fruit. Cages and stakes are great ways to give your plants the support they need!
Cages are great options for determinate tomato varieties, which grow into a small, bushy plant and stay that size throughout the season. The cage will provide support to the branches and help carry the weight when these plants produce all of their fruit at once.
Alternatively, stakes are great for indeterminate varieties which grow on long climbing stems. These tend to produce all through the season, so they won’t need quite as much weight-bearing support as much as they’ll need support when it’s windy and to keep it from bending and breaking. Be sure to plant your stakes beside your plants while they are young so that you don’t damage any roots driving the stake down, and tie loosely so that your plant has some flexibility.
A consistent watering routine is the best way to prevent your tomatoes from splitting and cracking. A wonky schedule will stress the fruit out, and the tomato skins won’t be able to keep up with a sudden surge of water! If you struggle to water consistently, try making it a part of your morning routine, such as watering while the coffee is brewing, or look into a drip-irrigation system.
Espoma Tomato-tone and Garden-tone are both organic plant foods made with natural ingredients, perfect for giving your tomatoes a boost. Garden-tone is most suitable for growing vegetables and herbs in your garden, while Tomato-tone is effective for growing all varieties of tomato plants since it contains more calcium, potash, and sulfur, which are all vital nutrients for your tomato plant! These products are two of the best-kept secrets for ensuring the proper growth of all the vegetables in your garden.
Call or visit us at Primex Garden Center in Glenside, Pennsylvania to get those tomatoes thriving in your garden today!