What to Plant: Transplants, Seeds (Start Indoors)
Dates: See Vegetable Planting Calendars
Nutrition: Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Potassium
Seeds/oz: 7000 - 11,500
Seed Viability: 4 years
Soil Temp: 70º F – 80º F (80º F)
Planting Depth: 1/4" max
Germination: 5 - 10 days
Spacing: Depends on growth habit & training method
SqFt Spacing: Determinate/Caged - 1 plant/4 squares; Determinate/Trellised - 1 plant/2 squares; Indeterminate/Pruned - 1 plant/square
Days to Harvest: Depends on variety
Length of Harvest: Depends on variety & growth habit
Origin: South America, Andes (Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile)
Bed prep: Apply 4" of compost and 1/2" of expanded shale; mix well by spading. Broadcast 1 cup of SROF per square foot.
Planting: Timing is important with tomatoes. Plant as early as possible, but after danger of frost has passed.
- Galveston-Clear Lake: Feb 1 – Feb 15
- I-10 Corridor: Feb 15 – Mar 1
- North of Beltway 8: Mar 1 – Mar 15
Water with Superthrive® the day before planting. Remove all but the top 4 - 6 leaves. Plant deeply, but do not allow the bottom set of leaves to touch the ground. Water in with Superthrive® after planting.
Watering: Keep soil evenly moist, but never soggy. Tomatoes do not appreciate dry-wet cycling.
Aftercare: Keep bed free of weeds – mulch. Watch for disease or pests. Apply foliar feeds every 7 - 10 days.
Harvest: Harvest stage depends on intended use. Tomatoes can be harvested green for pickles, pink stage to ripen in the counter, or full red for fresh eating.
Tomato Pests & Diseases:
- Aphids - Rinse off with stream of water, use insecticidal soaps.
- Leaf-footed Bugs - Use pet vacuum, knock into bucket of soapy water.
- Birds - Provide water source, use tomato-like decoys at planting time.
- Blossom End Rot - Keep moisture consistent, avoid disturbing the roots.
- Fungal & Bacterial Disease - Avoid getting irrigation water on the leaves, apply compost & mulch to support Soil Food Web predators, use ACV in foliar feed.
History: The tomato was domesticated from a wild variety in the Peruvian Andes. It was cultivated by the Aztecs and was called "Xitomatl". Spanish explorers introduced the "tomatl" to Europe in the 1500's. It was grown as a garden oddity in England, where it was thought to be poisonous. Thomas Jefferson grew tomatoes in the late 1700's. The tomato is the most popular vegetable in home gardens across America. It is grown in approximately 35 million backyard gardens.