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Want to grow some tomatoes, need advice.

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chaska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 11:00 PM
Original message
Want to grow some tomatoes, need advice.
I want to get two or three tom plants to grow in containers, but don't quite know what I need. How big a container would a tomato plant need? I'll need some potting soil I guess, the dirt around here is no good (LA area). What about fertilizer? How often do they need water? I have full sun all day, and they will be planted along a fence, should I get the viney variety or the bushey (are these poisonous to muslims?) variety? What's that called, determinate vs. nondeterminate, or something? I'm just full of questions tonight.
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Eye and Monkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 11:05 PM
Response to Original message
1. Link
Go to

Lotsa info, lotsa additional links, you can also get your plants there (they ship overnight). Very very good, friendly folks - all organic.

And their stuff works - I have a fair-sized garden full of veggies raised from their seeds.
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Wilber_Stool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 11:15 PM
Response to Original message
2. Over the years
I have found the best varietys to grow are any of the cherry varietys. I don't know why.
Train them along the fence.If you have to tie them up, use cloth strips.
Make sure the soil is well drained. Don't water too much. Not too much fert. Easy on the nitrogen.
That should do it. Good luck.
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Gloria Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 11:17 PM
Response to Original message
3. I've grown them for years so here's what you do:
Edited on Fri May-14-04 11:24 PM by Gloria
For containers: you'll need about a 5 gallon pot per plant, that's about 14 inches across the top. I use clay for edibles instead of plastic. Choose a variety that is good for containers such as Husky, or a patio tomato. Full sun is fine, unless you live in the desert like morning sun, afternoon shade will be OK. Or, cover with cheesecloth or shade cloth to avoid scalding the fruit. I put in granular fertilizer when I plant, then use foliar feeding (Miracle Grow or equivalent) every couple of weeks. Plants in pots will dry out quickly, esp. in the wind...I water every day in the AM and sometimes later if it's very windy.

As for the ones along the fence: determinates will stop growing at a certain size, but they can still be large. Indeterminates just keep vining. It really doesn't make a difference except for how much vining you have room for. Get a book or search on the internet if you want to prune them to keep them manageable. You just have to learn what to take off. Staking will keep fruit cleaner, but you can just let them run which helps shade the fruit. It depends on what your situation is; again a basic internet how-to will help you make that decision.

Just be aware that tomatoes can't really set fruit above about 90 degrees. Shade cloth will drop the temp. 10-15 degrees and helps if this is the problem...

If you are getting lots of greenery but no are probably feeding them too much.

Also, try to water at the base instead of with a hose from overhead. You'll have fewer problems with some of those nasty leaf and systemic diseases that occur with too much dampness....
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pocoloco Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-04 11:31 PM
Response to Original message
4. Don't forgret the "Miricle-Gro"!!
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chaska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 12:07 AM
Response to Original message
5. Thanks ya'll.
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Elidor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 12:24 AM
Response to Original message
6. Congrats
They're very forgiving plants. Just give them a little love here and there and they'll reward you many times over.

"You should avoid giving tomato plants too much nitrogen (Miracle-Gro), especially before the fruit sets. It is far better to plant them into a location that has healthy soil with high levels of organic matter worked in. Over watering may help to produce larger fruit, but flavor may be reduced. Additionally, splitting and cracking can result from uneven and excessive watering."
(I've learned this the hard way.)

"Determinate types ripen over 3 to 4 weeks and their bushes generally do not need staking. Indeterminate continue to grow even after the fruit sets and ripen continuously until a frost arrives."

"Choose the plant that's right for you. There are two kinds of tomatoes, determinate and indeterminate. Determinate plants grow short and bushy, and all their fruit ripens at once. These plants work well in cages and are convenient for canning. Some popular varieties include Celebrity, Floramerica, Heatwave, and Roma. Indeterminate tomato plants are tall and vinelike, needing strong stakes. They tend to have a longer, more spread out fruiting period. Some of the popular indeterminate tomatoes are Early Girl, Better Boy, Big Beef, and Lemon Boy."

I'm growing mostly indeterminates, and I use cages to support them. I almost invariably give them too much water, resulting in splitting, at which point Fried Green Tomatoes come into play.
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