By Paul Epsom
By Paul Epsom from The Victory Garden
Posted on August 6, 2010
One of the things most New Englanders look forward to, in July and August, is fresh, local tomatoes.
A perfectly ripe red, yellow, or heirloom tomato from your very own garden can really make a fantastic summer sandwich or salad. So here are some pointers on how to make this summer's tomato crop your best ever.
When watering your tomatoes, direct the hose at the roots of your plant. Water thoroughly and regularly since irregular watering results in cracking and blossom end rot.
Next, careful with your pruning since the leaves shade the flowers and the fruit—which is sensitive to the sun—it's in the leaves that the photosynthesizing occurs, creating the sugars that give your tomatoes flavor so keep the leaves. But do remove sucker, or side shoots, that appear in the space between the stem and branch of your plant. These side shoots won't produce fruit and are competing for nutrients with the rest of the plant that has a much better chance of bearing those beautiful ripe tomatoes we all crave.
To keep away fungus remove the leaves from just the bottom of your tomato plant. These aren't protecting anything, so you don't need them.
Lastly, use cages or fencing to support the vines, not stakes. Stakes can limit growth and tomato produce.
I hope these tomatoes tips are helpful. Now get out there and start picking!