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Old May 31st, 2005, 09:36 AM
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Default Re: Just planted tomato plants...any good hints to good crop

Well, down here in Louisiana I harvested my first batch of 'maters last week. Of course it's hard for me to get them to the ripe stage because my beloved husband loves friend green tomatoes more than anything.

Best advice for tomatoes is to plant them really, really deep. Every place the stem touches the soil will put down roots and feed the plant. Of course, you've already planted but if you didn't plant deep (I put the plant in the hole with only 1/3 of the plant of above ground - yeh, it really startles rookie gardeners). I just love filling the trench rows with fish guts - it makes for the prettiest soil. Flood your rows deeply once a week to get to the bottom of the roots. Tomoato plants have roots about 3 feet deep, which makes for good support when they get soooo topheavy by the end of the season. If you water the surface frequently you will draw the roots to the surface when they need to be deep in the earth.

I compost a lot and try to use organic priniples whenever possible but if you do not have compost with which to sidedress your plants or to make compost tea then use a fertilizer designed for tomatoes. In case you haven't done it you probably need to test your soil to see if it's lacking in anything and properly amend the soil for future crops. Of course, the best amendment you can make is compost.

If cutworms are a problem you can discourage them by placing a collar around the base of the stalk. Old toilet paper rolls are good, or you can use aluminum foil. Just make sure you press it down into the soil along the stalk for an inch or two.

For peppers do pretty much the same thing although they don't like as much water as tomatoes.

Some folks are big believers in discouraging bugs by companion planting marigold beside your tomatoes. Certain types of marigolds give off a compound into the soil that discourages nematodes which can feed on the plants roots. I've never had a nematode problem so I cannot give personal testimony on whether this works but it makes the garden look nice!

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