Tools & Resources

Determinate & Indeterminate tomato plants:  tomato varieties have either a bush or a vine habit.  Heirloom tomato plants are most often vining or “indeterminate,” and can grow to six feet or taller.  Indeterminate tomatoes must be staked or trellised for support.  They perform best when planted in rich soil, and enough space for air circulation.  If you plant in grow bags or large pots, consider Greg Lehoullier’s (cf. Books and Manuals below) soil mix for pots:  2.5 cubic foot bag commercial soil-less growing medium mixed with a 25lb bag of composted manure.

Tomatoes should be planted deep.  The cotyledon/first leaves should be just below the soil line.  All of the tiny hairs above and below the first true leaves will become roots.  Here is a “trenching guide” for proper planting:  https://garden.org/learn/articles/view/360/.

Trellising:  we favor the Florida Weave.  This is a commercial growers technique that creates a very organized trellis system for growing multiple plants:  https://www.gardenbetty.com/trellising-tomatoes-with-the-florida-weave or as demonstrated on YouTube:  There are many systems to stake and support indeterminate tomatoes.

In our area, tomatoes are often susceptible to blossom end rot.  This issue is caused by a lack of calcium in the soil which impacts a tomato plants ability to utilize water. You can alleviate this problem by putting about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of powdered garden lime in the planting hole.  Be careful not to over-water

Tomato plants need food and can be fed with liquid fish emulsion (hydrolysate like Neptune’s Harvest).  There are a host of OMRI rated organic products.  Humic acid and mycorrhizae help the soil microbiology.  See Garden Products below.

Evaluate your soil:  The University of Delaware has a soil lab where you can send sample for evaluation:  https://www.udel.edu/academics/colleges/canr/cooperative-extension/environmental-stewardship/soil-testing/

The DC Urban Gardeners (DUG) Network’s mission is to inform and connect DC residents to resources, events, opportunities, forums, services and programs that support food access, healthy eating, urban agriculture and environmental sustainability in the greater DC area.  

http://dugnetwork.org/

RootingDC is an annual all-day urban gardening forum that provides ducation about urban agriculture and food systems, cultivates health and protection of the environment, and builds community:

https://www.rootingdc.org/

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