- Do be sure to give the tomato plants plenty of space - they need air circulation.
- Do be sure to plant in fluffy organic soil and composting material. I try my best to use homemade compost from veggie scraps in my UCT9 garden composter from Urban Garden Center. If I don't have enough, I purchase organic compost.
- Do plant the tomatoes quite deep. This year I pulled off the tiny lower leaves and planted right up to the biggest set of bottom leaves. Tomatoes will shoot roots out of their stems and it will make for a much sturdier, productive plant.
- Do use tomato cages or some sort of support system for the tender tomato leaves and fruits. It keeps the plants off the ground, reduces insects and increases production. I got my tomato cages a few years ago at Gardener's Supply Company and actually have to order more this year.
- Don't overwater or underwater. Get yourself a moisture meter to be certain when the tomato plants need watering (I picked one up at Home Depot for $14.95 in the orchid section). Tomatoes should actually hit the dry stage before you water them.
- Don't get the leaves wet. Make sure to water at the base of the plant.
- Do mist the leaves with liquid kelp/fish emulsion fertilizer once a month. It promotes flower and fruit growth.
My intention is to eventually plant enough tomatoes year-round to keep us in tomato sauce, tomatoes for stews and soups and, of course, fresh eatin' maters. Is there anything better than a freshly sliced tomato just out of the garden with just a few sprinkles of kosher salt? I'm not sure how many plants I'll need to keep going to keep the 3 of us (my husband Mickey, my dad and me) in tomatoes year-round, but 10 is the most I've ever planted, so let's see where that gets us.