|Tomatoes - perhaps the hardest thing to grow in the desert.|
Seeds & Sprouting:
-Choose tomato varieties that will best suit your area. Ask others who live around you what varieties work well and research if you don’t get the answer you like.
-Buy seeds from companies that agree with your philosophy of growing tomato plants. What is most important for you – hybrid seed, organic seed, or that it has been grown in an environmentally sustainable manner? My favorite company is one that selects their seed based on its ability to endure environmental extremes resist diseases, while still being open-pollinated.
-Keep seeds warm (around 75-80 degrees) to sprout. Once all plants are sprouted, turn off the heater and keep them cooler while keeping the light bright.
- When starting transplants indoors, provide as much light as possible and keep plants as close to the light as possible without burning them.
-When setting out new tomato plants, use a paper collar or something of the sort to keep cutworms from killing your tomato start. Cutworms can live anywhere from under rocks to- well – anywhere!
Once Vines are in the Ground:
|Lowered tomato plants - corn to the West|
Disease Control: Plant Mustard Greens then Marigolds around tomatoes.
Soil Conditioning: Plant bean plants around tomato plants until tomatoes are large enough, then cut bean plants down.
- If you even suspect any lower leaves are diseased pull them off and dispose of them in the trash.
-Do not use tomato waste for compost. Tomatoes were bred to produce lots of fruit but are compromised by the number of diseases they can receive and produce.
- I prefer a modified Florida Weave Method that I found information on from the Seed Saver’s Forum. The Florida weave method has its advantages if you make it easy to disassemble.
-Mulching with finished compost helps to grow healthy tomato plants. In the midsummer finished compost mulch is nothing but a good thing.