SIX CONDITIONS FOR GROWING TOMATOES
1. Sunlight. Tomatoes require a minimum of 8 hours of
continuous sunlight each day.
2. Temperature. Tomatoes need 3 to 4 months of warm, clear, fairly dry weather to produce very good fruits. Tomatoes need consistent night temperatures between 55°F and 75°F to set fruit. (A few varieties will set fruit at lower or higher temperatures.) Tomato fruits will not ripe properly when night temperatures stay above 85°F, and plants will quit growing when temperatures go above 95°F.
3. Continuous and even watering. Soil should be kept evenly moist. It should not be too wet and not too dry. Too much water will drown the plant; too little water will stop fruit production. Test soil moisture by sticking your finger into the soil. If it comes out dry, it is the right time to water and if it comes out wet, hold on with the watering. During periods of drought deep water tomatoes once a week . A constant, even supply of water can prevent blossom end rot, but too much water will cause it.
4. Continuous feeding. Prepare the tomato-growing bed with well-rotted garden compost and manure added to the soil where each plant will grow. Adding bone meal into the bottom of each hole ; extra phosphorus will speed ripening . Too much nitrogen will give you abundant foliage but delay ripening. Add nitrogen when the top leaves turn yellow and the stem become deep purple.
5. Soil type . Sandy loam is best for early tomatoes. Heavy clay loam is ideal for late tomatoes. Amend the soil with compost before planting. Tomatoes prefer a soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0, just below neutral in acidity.
6. Protection. Protect the tomato plant from extreme cold and hot temperatures , strong winds, weeds, pests and diseases. If seedlings are transplanted early, tomatoes must be protected from cold temperatures . Examine plants often to get rid of tomato hornworms and other pest early. Avoid fungal and bacterial diseases by watering at the base of plants and rotating tomatoes to new beds each year.
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