April 25, 2024
Southern Gardening: Tips for growing tomatoes
Gary Bachman

As the host of Southern Gardening, I advertise largely decorative landscape and backyard garden vegetation through newspaper content, Tv segments and social media posts.

So I come across it intriguing that most of the inquiries I obtain revolve all over the vegetable back garden.

Our ornamental crops give us the landscape and backyard aesthetics that we eat with our eyes. But the vegetable back garden gives the property gardener a tangible, consumable item: most likely a tomato or pepper in the summer months or radishes, carrots or salad greens in the wintertime.

As a “typical” dwelling gardener, I actually enjoy to increase and experiment with my vegetable garden. Every season, I understand something new to share with Mississippi gardeners.

This calendar year, tomatoes have been producing the vast majority of the queries sent to me. So I’d like to share a couple of tips and tricks that I have figured out about the decades to enable you be prosperous in growing your possess tomatoes.

The intention of most gardeners is to mature that perfect, vine-ripened fruit. But most decades, bugs, birds, squirrels and rats look to conspire to make harvesting a vine-ripened tomato as magical as getting a unicorn.

The actuality is, the lengthier that tomato is on the vine, the additional probabilities there are of some thing lousy occurring. I like to harvest my significant-fruited tomatoes when they start showing the initially blush of color.

I carry them inside to complete ripening. At this issue, the fruit has as substantially sugar as it’s going to have and will ripen nicely on a heat counter or windowsill. If you have a coffee maker on the counter, place your ripening tomatoes close to it, as it will be a few of levels hotter, specially if its plugged in.

I place my blushing tomatoes on a germination rack to completely ripen.

Whilst this method works for significant-fruited tomatoes, the lesser cherry tomatoes mature significantly quicker and typically can be authorized to ripen on the vine.

Tomato hornworms can cause frustrating complications for gardeners. These caterpillars of the hawk or sphinx moth look to appear out of nowhere and can take in an whole tomato overnight.

To make matters even worse, they are masters of disguise as they hold on the undersides of tomato stems. At times the only indicator of them you can find are the piles of frass on leaves soon after large hurt has been completed.

But all is not dropped. I discovered a method to simply come across these men at evening. Below an ultraviolet flashlight, these caterpillars fluoresce and essentially glow like a beacon in the dark.

I really do not do a lot in terms of disease handle mainly because in Mississippi, our tomatoes will get just about each and every leaf-borne fungal condition recognized to tomato-kind, and it can feel like a dropping battle. But what I’ve realized is that tomatoes can be pretty regional in adaptation, and even with afflicted leaves, if you’ve picked the suitable varieties, the vegetation will continue to produce an abundance of fruit.

My information generally includes inquiring residence gardeners regardless of whether they want great-looking crops or outstanding-tasting tomatoes.

A excellent resource to aid you be thriving with tomatoes is the most recent version of the “Mississippi Vegetable Gardener’s Manual,” formerly acknowledged as “The Backyard garden Tabloid.” It can be uncovered on line at http://extension.msstate.edu/publications/mississippi-vegetable-gardeners-guidebook.

Gary Bachman is an Extension and analysis professor of horticulture at the Mississippi Point out College Coastal Investigate and Extension Center in Biloxi. Call him at [email protected]

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