Productive Garden Veggies

TOMATO CHECKLIST ITEM 4 - DECIDE ON CROP SITE.

Tomato Seedlings Marzano 2023 Crop

The photo above shows some of our current tomato seedlings today.  These are our Marzano Plum seedlings.

Now let’s continue with the tomato checklist.

With your tomato seedlings potted on, it’s time to demarcate the best tomato location for growing your tomato crop. There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding where to plant your tomato crop.


Incompatible Crops:
Plant tomatoes well apart from where you plan to grow dill, fennel, broccoli and cabbage crops, all of which secrete pheromones that can inhibit tomato growth. Also stay clear of walnut trees for the same reason.

Space:
Plan on planting between 40 and 100 plants, each requiring at least 1 square foot. Give more room to the bush varieties of tomatoes that need to spread out.

Sunlight:
Tomatoes love sunlight. They will only thrive in the sunniest locations of your garden. They absolutely need sunlight to produce fruit.

Height:
Tomatoes are primarily vines, so plan on growing them vertically on tomato cages or trellises. It makes sense to plant them next to a south facing wall.

Irrigation:
Plant your crop in a layout that is easy to retrofit with a drip irrigation system. A drip irrigation system can be a game changer when you need to leave your crop unattended for a week or two during hot, dry weather. Long, parallel rows of plants make it easy to place a single drip emitter next to each stem while using the minimum length of irrigation tubing. When drip irrigating plants in large pots, consider rigging up an overhead gantry so that you don’t trip over the irrigation lines as you walk between pots.

Pets and Varmints:
We’re not the only ones who love tomatoes. You’ll have to assess the pest situation in your particular locality. Consider planting in pots or raised beds with mesh floors to discourage gophers. You can resort to motion activated lights, sprinklers and fencing to discourage larger mammals and birds. For the giant caterpillars known as tomato hornworms, consider spacing your tomato plants well apart so that you can easily inspect and remove these varmints. Give yourself space to gain full access to the plants if you end up resorting to spraying chemical repellents on their foliage.

In our next post we’ll look at how to prepare the soil for our future crop.

Cheers!

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