Tomatoes are one of America's most popular vegetables and with good reason, since they are easy to
grow in your own backyard. There are countless varieties available to home gardeners ranging from giant beefsteaks
to the minature cherry types.
Many have a superior flavour and a skin too thin for long journeys to the
supermarkets but perfect for a trip up the garden path. Study the seed catalogs and make your selection.
Seeds should be planted indoors 5-7 weeks before the plants are to be transplanted to the garden.
Tomatoes can not be planted outside until all danger of frost has passed, so time your seed sowing accordingly.
When you are ready to transplant the seedlings, prepare the soil well. Dig holes eighteen inches
apart and 6-8 inches deep. Put a handful of compost or a little fertilizer in the hole and then cover with two
inches of soil. Place the plant in the hole and gently firm the soil around the plant. Place a bamboo pole or other
support next to the plant taking care not to danmage the roots. There are several different types of support
available commercially. This link takes
you to one called "Tomato Ladders" but below the picture you can see details of other types.
After transplanting water well, at least for the first week. Do not apply a mulch straightaway
since the plants will benefit from the warmth of the sun on the soil.
As the plants grow, tie them in to the supports and pinch out the side shoots that sprout from the
juction of the main stem with the branches. If you find that the plant is growing too tall, cut the top of the main
stem. Apply a little ferilizer when the flowers bloom and the first fruits start to appear. Do not overdo the
fertilizer since this will tend to promote leafgrowth at the expense of the fruit and also delay the harvest.