Prepare the bed by tilling. Till in composted cow manure, lots of
leaf mold, especially oak leaves, and some general purpose fertilizer. Allow
the tilled soil to dry out- a week or so. Cover with black
plastic; the plastic increases the temperature of the ground so bigger
roots develop sooner. It also keeps the weeds down and keeps moisture
in. Poke holes in the plastic to plant your tomatoes.
In the bottom of the holes, place one tablespoon of lime, one
tablespoon of Epsom salts and an old fashioned match head.
Mix with some small amount of sand and peat moss (not a lot). Put
enough of the soil back on top of this to shield from the plant roots.
The roots will reach down and touch the mix as they grow.
Put sand and peat moss in equal amounts into the hole and plant the
plant. Put the soil from the hole back on top, making a mound. Water
until wet and pull plastic around the plant.
Put large, sturdy cages ( 6x6 concrete reinforcing mesh for
cages last forever, is tough and you can reach into the holes to pick
the tomatoes ) on top of the plants and stake using steel fence posts,
wiring them to the cages.
Water enough to keep the plants damp - watch the leaves for signs of
wilt. Too much water or soaked roots is bad. Too little is
correctable so long as it is not the norm. Let the plant grow and
overflow the cage; do not cut back the multiple stems.
You can get good luck with better boy and supersonic tomatoes. Consider
buying the already sprouted ones.
||Tomatoes will not fruit on the branches flowering at time of
transplant; they fruit on the post-transplant branches.
Tomato roots need warmth above 70 degrees in ground temperature to
grow. Below that temp they just sit. Therefore plastic
speeds up the growth and keeps it going into the night.
It takes a large number of leaves, about 14, to support the
sugar production needed to produce one fruit. Pinch suckers
and leaves and you pinch the future fruit. Tomatoes are
cousins to nightshade and have poisonous leaves,
but edible fruit. The leaves may cause an allergic reaction
in some folks.
It seems like a lot of work, but in reality it is mostly in preparation and
planting. The plastic keeps the weeds down and moisture in so all you
have to watch is that they are watered and that the hornworms don't
get to them.