Throughout the years we have had many people ask how we prefer to grow our tomatoes. I can really appreciate passing along the tricks that we use in our own gardens so that everyone can experience a great tomato harvest -- many of our planting preferences have been passed down to us from our loved ones and also from other avid gardeners. By no means do I purport to be an expert, but do stand by what has worked for our personal gardening experiences. There are main ideas that we stick to fervently.
#1. Pick a healthy, sturdy plant
#2. Drip line irrigation...it's great for many reasons, to name a few -- ease of watering, the water gets directly to the roots of the plants never on the leaves (ideal for keeping disease at bay).
#3. Ground cover -- great for weed suppression and keeping moisture on hot dry days.
#4. Prune the plants as they grow to keep at least a foot of exposure from the ground...good air flow helps discourage disease.
You will need a shovel, garden lime, Epsom Salts (magnesium sulfate) and an un-struck match.
**Magnesium and sulfur are two major components of Epsom salt. Magnesium is a critical mineral for seed germination. Plants use it to produce chlorophyll and as an aid in the absorption of phosphorus and nitrogen. Sulfur is also a key element in plant growth, helping produce vitamins. Tests by the National Gardening Association show that Epsom salt helps produce more flowers and makes pepper plants grow larger.
**Adding lime neutralizes soil acidity; supplies calcium and magnesium; promotes root growth; creates an excellent environment for soil organisms that break down organic matter; and improves soil structure.
These planting techniques can be used on peppers and other garden plants.
**We recommend getting your soil tested to find out what your soil is made up of. You can purchase a home soil test kit at any garden store or locally our OSU Extension office will test your soil for free.