stoplight market fertilome tomato and vegetable food calcium nitrate copper fungicide

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Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable in the home garden. Here a few steps to give you more success.

  1. Garden Location. Choose a sunny, well drained location. Tomatoes need at least 6-8 hours of sun per day.
  2. Soil pH. Tomatoes like a soil pH of 6.0-6.8. Have you soil tested and follow the recommendations given on the test results.  The Missouri Extension Office is a great place to have this done.
  3. Planting. Small plants are the easiest to transplant. If you like to buy tall plants remember to plant them deep. A tomato plant that is 12″ tall can be planted 8 inches deep, leaving only the top 4 inches of the plant above the ground. Deep planting gives you a better root system and a plant that is not spindly. Rows can slightly ridged up to provide extra drainage should we have a very wet spring or summer. We do not recommend this deep planting technique our 3-gallon tomato plants. These should be planted so that the root ball is even with the surrounding ground level.
  4. Plant Support. Stakes or cages work well for supporting tomato plants. Woven concrete wire makes great cages that are durable and last a long time.
  5. Mulching. After your transplants are rooted in and growing well wheat straw can be used for mulch around each plant. This will keep the roots cooler in the summertime, conserve moisture, and control weeds.
  6. Fertilizing. Stoplight Market recommends Ferti-lome Tomato and Vegetable Food. At planting sprinkle 1 lb of fertilizer in a 1 foot wide band for every 50 foot row. Mix in thoroughly. After planting you can apply this fertilizer once a month. Use 1/4 cup per plant and sprinkle around each plant.
  7. Watering. Stoplight Market recommends using a soaker hose to water your tomatoes. This will water your plants without getting the leaves wet and also helps with blight control. It is important to maintain steady moisture levels. Using a watering timer works well to achieve this.
  8. Blossom End Rot. Stoplight Market recommends Hi-Yield Calcium Nitrate to control blossom end rot. At planting apply 1 teaspoon around each plant. Do not apply within 2 inches of the stem. Make the next application when your green tomatoes are the size of a quarter. Again apply 1 teaspoon per plant. Subsequent applications may be made as needed. Blossom end rot is caused by calcium deficiency and also by erratic soil moisture. Maintaining an even water program is very beneficial.
  9. Blight Control. Blight can be a big problem when growing tomatoes. Leaves can start curling and the plant begins to die from the bottom up. Cool, wet, rainy weather makes blight spread very quickly. If you use cages or stakes from last years garden be sure to disinfect them with a 10% bleach solution before you use them. Stoplight Market recommends applying Copper fungicide right after planting. It can be applied every 7-10 days if conditions are favorable for disease development.  Mix 2 oz. to 1 gallon of water and spray the entire plant. Other fungicides that work good for controlling blight are Mancozeb and Fung-Onil. Blight control is one of the most important steps in keeping your tomato plants healthy and producing till frost.
  10. Insect control. Watch for aphids, tomato horn worm, and other pests throughout the season. Stoplight Market recommends Bayer Vegetable & Garden Insect Spray. Apply as needed. Stoplight Market stocks Ferti-lome Tomato and Vegetable Food, Hi-Yield Calcium Nitrate, Copper Fungicide, Mancozeb, Fung-Onil, and Bayer Vegetable and Garden Insect spray. Come see us for all your tomato gardening needs!