For many gardeners, tomato is the queen of warm season vegetables. Get the most from your tomato plants by placing the following on your gardening checklist:
Continue to start seeds directly outdoors of warm season tomato varieties such as Brandywine, Big Beef and Tobolsk or continue to start seeds directly outdoors of short-season varieties like Siberian, Siletz, and Stupice. Gardeners who live in the warmest inland valleys or areas should plant tomato starts of warm season varieties only. See 7 Steps to Selecting Tomato Varieties for more information about which varieties will work well in your area.
Pinch off tomato blossoms from indeterminate varieties until plants are well established (generally 16 inches tall or taller) to encourage a strong plant before it sets fruit.
Plan and install support or staking, generally before plants reach one foot in height. Install support or staking before plants reach 1 foot in height. See Tomatoes: Staking, Supporting and Trellising for more information.
Gently shake stems with blossoms once per day to increase increase pollination. See Tomatoes and Pollination for more information.
Harvest earliest tomato fruits. Keep plants harvested to encourage fruit production. Cherry tomatoes are often the first to produce fruits.
Provide consistent water for newly planted tomatoes. As plants begin to establish, shift focus to deeper, slower, longer watering to encourage deep rooting. Tomato plants perform best when soil remains moist but not wet. See Watering Tomatoes for Maximum Yield for complete instructions for watering tomatoes.
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