Long, hot summer days are almost over, which means it’s time to start a delicious new crop of tomatoes.
Keep in mind that fall crops grow differently than spring ones. The days are getting shorter and the sun is lower in the sky, so it takes longer for the fruit to ripen. Choose varieties that mature quickly, such as ‘Sungold’ cherry, ‘Better Boy’ and ‘Celebrity,’ which all mature in less than 70 days.
You may be surprised to find a bigger harvest in the fall since the plants have escaped attacks from spring pests and diseases.
Planting Tomato Seedlings:
- Select early varieties adapted for warm climates with strong stems and lots of flowers.
- Plant in an area that gets at least 6 hours of sun a day.
- Space plants 2’ apart.
- Dig a hole 6”-8” deep and 6”-8” wide for each seedling.
- Fill the hole with 3” of compost mixed with a handful of organic tomato fertilizer.
- Remove the bottom leaves on each plant, leaving only two sets of leaves at the top.
- Place the plant in the hole and fill with soil up to the remaining set of leaves. Push dirt against the stem to prop it up.
- Cover area around roots with 1” of mulch.
- Water well. Keep water off lower leaves to prevent disease. Tomatoes need 2” of water per week.
- Stake or cage each plant, pushing the support firmly into the soil.