These three tips for top tomatoes will keep your plants happy and ensure a successful crop of quality tomatoes. Includes watering, feeding and keeping plants healthy.
Roots need moisture and air to grow successfully – too much water in the soil on a consistent basis will reduce growth and encourage diseases.
A good root structure is achieved with a balance of both moisture and air.
Try to keep soil “just moist” – is the usual advice. Another method is to give the soil a good watering, then let it almost dry-out before watering again in a wet/dry cycle.
It is important that there is some moisture in the soil because roots cannot absorb nutrients if the soil is bone dry. However, saturated soil has no air and encourages unhealthy bacteria.
Tomato food (minerals) may build-up and crystallize in the soil causing root burn. These mineral salts can send a plant into stress which is often displayed by leaf curl on the upper part of a tomato plant.
The excess of some minerals will block other minerals, resulting in plants having to do without a particular nutrient altogether!
This is why foliar feeding is often a good idea as it avoids nutrient competition in the soil.
One method is to feed the standard NPK nutrients to the roots and feed calcium and plant boosts-tonics like liquid seaweed as a foliar spray. Calcium applied as a spray is very useful as it helps to avoid blossom end rot.
Try to Keep Tomato Leaves Dry
If growing outdoors this is obviously a challenge! However, it may be possible to provide some cover with a simple cane or wooden frame and plastic sheeting – it will be worth the effort.
Tomato leaves that remain wet for several days will reduce a plant’s immune system, leaving it vulnerable to all sorts of diseases.
Keeping leaves dry helps to avoid tomato blight.
To Sum Up
Most people who are new to tomato growing tend to over-water and over-feed their plants which can cause a lot of problems. Combine this with growing tomatoes outdoors, in the rain, and you have a mix of everything that tomato plants don’t like.
So, slightly under-watering, under-feeding and keeping leaves dry will almost certainly lead to success.
Of course you need to know the amounts to give and this comes with experience. However, if in doubt, a little less is a lot better than too much.
See Also: Saving Tomato Seeds