Tips for Growing a Contest-Winning Tomato!

  1. Plant in your southernmost, sunniest exposure where the tomato plant will receive eight hours of bright sunlight. Factoid: Tomatoes planted in full sunlight have higher levels of Vitamin C.
  2. Amend your soil with compost or very-well composted manure. Tomatoes do best in pH neutral soils, which we do not have in Indiana. Our soils are slightly alkaline, so mix a handful of soil sulfur into your soil when amending.
  3. Tomatoes dislike wet feet, so never plant where puddles form after a rain.
  4. Don’t plant this year in the same spot as last year unless you have no other sunny locations. This is absolutely essential if you had tomato disease problems last year.
  5. Keep the tomatoes 40 to 50 feet away from trees. Factoid: Absolutely do not plant tomatoes near black walnut trees. Walnut trees produce a toxic substance that kills tomato plants.
  6. Plant deep or in a trench! Remove all the lower stems on the plant but leave only the top 2 or 3 stems with foliage. Plant it right up to just below the top stems. The tomato will produce roots all along the buried main stem. More roots mean a stronger, healthier, faster growing plant.
  7. Tomato plants are big eaters. Apply a granular fertilizer at planting, then once a month thereafter. Supplement with a water-soluble fertilizer, if you like. Factoid: Stay away from high nitrogen content fertilizers. They will only over —stimulate green leafy growth at the expense of the fruit. Instead use a high phosphorous content fertilizer that stimulates root and fruit development.
  8. Always stake the plant. Use a six-foot stake or cage. Tie the plant to the stake as it grows.
  9. In late May or early June select the healthiest, largest tomato on the vine(s). Remove all the other tomatoes growing below it on the vine. This procedure forces the plant to concentrate energy to the selected tomato(es).
  10. Mulch the soil around the plant. Keep the soil constantly damp but not wet.


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