HOW TO GROW FABULOUS TOMATOES
Tomatoes like a long growing season, warm nights, consistent moisture, and acidic soil that is mostly humus. Colorado has a short growing season, cool nights, droughts and clay, alkaline soil. In spite of these challenges, delicious tomatoes can be yours if you follow a few simple rules.
- Plant Selection Since we have a short growing season, some gardeners skip larger tomatoes in favor of smaller, hardier varieties such as Early Girl, Celebrity or Better Boy. If your plant is going into a container, Roma and cherry tomatoes seem to fare better. Avoid leggy plants - look for one that is as wide as it is tall. If there are blossoms, pinch them off. There should be as many plants as there are tomato eaters in the household.
- Planting: Find a sunny, warm location that is close to a water source. Add compost and a low nitrogen fertilizer to the soil. Handle the plant carefully and plant it deeper than it was in its pot.
- Watering: Water regularly in the morning if the plants look wilted, usually every other day or so. Water into the roots slowly and thoroughly. Don't fluctuate the watering or you'll have blossom rot or cracked tomatoes.
- Harvesting: Leave your tomatoes on the vine until they are uniformly red (or yellow) and very slightly soft. If they fall off while green, store them in a paper bag with the stem up in a dark, cool place. Don't refrigerate your crop; that spoils the texture and taste. If your plant still has tomatoes when the frost comes, hang it upside down in the basement or garage to ripen further.
Below are some additional resources, including a video lesson on grilling tomatoes.
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