Tomato Plant Maintenance For Beginners in 9 Tips

Tomato plant maintenance for beginners always causes anxiety. Yet, it doesn’t have to. Every tomato farmer hopes to produce the perfect juicy, big, aromatic, and good-looking tomatoes. But there isn’t another crop with as many problems as tomatoes. So here are some tips for tomato plant maintenance for beginners.

The first tomato plant maintenance for beginners tip is to pick suitable seed varieties and begin your planting on a positive. This way, you will avoid many problems before they happen with these great tips to get you glowing because of your harvest.

Irrigate frequently and regularly

Tomatoes need a lot of water to produce those big fruits you love, especially when fruiting. So give them deep watering of about 1 inch of water each week. In hot weather, you can increase the amount of water you use for tomato plant maintenance. Beginners might not know what to do.

You should avoid compensating for missing your irrigation schedule by over-irrigating later. It will make your fruits split or crack, and you do not want that. Skipping irrigation days may also cause blossom end rot, a calcium deficiency.

Sometimes in the heat, your tomato plants may show signs of wilting. In such cases, use more water on the farm because it signifies that your plant is thirsty.

When your fruits begin turning yellow the red, they are ripening. At this stage, less water is better because it makes your tomato plant concentrate its sugars, making the tomatoes that much sweeter. Please do not overdo it. You don’t want your plants to wilt or drop their fruits and flowers.

Cut the bottom leaves of your tomato.

Cut the lower leaves on your tomato plant as the tomato grows older. It will help improve the aeration of the plant. Aeration helps the leaf surfaces dry up, reducing the risk of disease.

The lower leaves tend to lay on the ground or pick up splashes from the soil when it rains or during irrigation. These splashes may carry pathogens with them, and when they land on your tomato leaves, they cause diseases.

Apply mulch

Mulching refers to covering the soil with plant materials such as hay, straw, and grass. You can also use plastic mulch from your local irrigation supplies shop. Plastic mulch has risen in popularity because it removes the risks of transferring pests and other diseases to your tomato plants from infected plant debris.

Before mulching, you should let the sun heat the soil before applying it. In addition to conserving moisture and preventing contact between plant and soil, plastic mulch also reflects sun rays cooling the soil under it. However, the cool temperature can hurt the plant because tomatoes need warm soils to thrive. Hence letting the soil warm in the heat is always recommended.

Warm the soil before planting

Tomatoes do well in warm soils for their roots. Therefore, before you transplant, you should have prepared your land in advance. Let it get heated by the sun for some hours or days, so the heat gets deep. Once the soil is hot, you can transplant your seedlings.

To speed up the heating up process, you can cover the soil area you want to use with black plastic mulch paper and give it some time. Once you feel your soil is warm enough, you can lift and remove the plastic or make holes where you will plant your seedlings.

Bury the lower stem underground

The stem of the seedlings should be buried well below ground, to about an inch below the actual leaves. Then, as you transplant, you can either dig a deep hole into fitting the stem of a shallow one or lay the stem along its floor.

Buying the stem will encourage roots to start forming in those areas making the roots stronger. It will also increase the rate of absorption and growth of the plant.

If you lay the stem on the holes’ floor, you have to take extra care when driving your stake into the ground not to injure those stems.

Space your seedlings appropriately.

Much like their mature counterparts, they also require spacing to thrive. You might be tempted in the beginning to stuff as many seedlings as your space can hold, but this is dangerous for the seedlings.

Spacing allows for aeration and healthy competition for light and nutrients that won’t see other seedlings suffer. For example, if you start with more than one seedling per cell on a seedling tray, remove the weaker one to allow the stronger one to grow. The process is called thinning.

Crowds limit growth and lead to stress. If you can wait till your seedlings have shown their first true leaves, then transplant them into their pots.

Provide a lot of light

Seedlings and plants need lots of light to grow healthy, fight diseases and make fruits. Enough direct sunlight will have your plants develop thick and stocky stems and spindly ones.

If you are growing them indoors, especially during winter, it is good to provide them with an artificial light source for about 14 hours a day. Have you fluorescent light above the plants and adjust it as the seedlings grow taller. Once they are ready to be transplanted, take your seedlings to the part of that farm that will likely receive the most sun.

Prune regularly

Remove the suckers when dealing with indeterminate tomatoes. You can also do this if you grow tomatoes in areas where light or water may be scarce. This practice will force your tomato plant to focus its energy on growing the few fruits left, giving you a higher harvest quality.

Be gentle with the pruning. If you are removing leaves, do not take out too much of them because they are essential to the production of food for the plant by photosynthesis. It is the same food stored in the fruits to make them bigger.

Helping your tomato to start forming fruits

It is common to nip off the tip of the main stem for indeterminate tomatoes. The tomato plant will begin prioritizing fruit production over vegetative growth when you do this.

You notice that your indeterminate tomatoes do not begin producing flowers and tomatoes up to about the third month. Do not be alarmed because this type of tomato likes to achieve a certain height before they begin making fruits.

You will not worry much about fruit setting when dealing with determinate tomatoes. This type of tomato sets fruits quickly and comes all at once unless they suffer from stress or blossom drop.

More information about tomato plant maintenance for beginners.


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