1) Purchase Healthy Plants
Buy from local grower
Bushy, disease free plants (no yellow leaves, no spots on leaves, stems)
Disease resistant. Check tag: VFH. V=Verticillium, F=Fusarium wilt, N= Nematode resistance.
Select local varieties, buy more than one variety
2) Good Soil
Have soil tested. Call: 612.625.3101
Add good amount of organic matter - well-rotted manure, compost
Plant in pots? Change soil every year to prevent diseases
Go to www.extension.umn.edu and click on GARDEN for more information
3) Location, location, location
Minimum of 6 - 8 hour of sun ideal
Near water source
Rotate crops every year on a 3 year cycle
Keep good records
4) Plant Correctly
Don’t rush the season (plant 10 days AFTER the last frost date in your area)
Harden off plants
Don’t plant when soil is wet – stay out of garden when wet
Pinch off lower branches, leaving few at top of plant, all fuzzy hairs of stem will become roots.
Plant sideways in trench
Dig out a shallow trench
Remove lower stems and branches
Lay entire plant down in trench on side
Cover with soil
5) Don’t Crowd Plants
Tomato plants get very large
Need air circulation which will help dry leaves and prevent disease
Will have more tomatoes when given adequate space to grow
6) Fertilize Plants
Feed with balanced fertilizer
Beginning after first fruit set
7) Mulch Soil
Mulch is fabulous garden tool:
Helps prevent weeds
Will hold moisture in soil
Helps prevent water splashing on leaves which helps prevent disease
Mulch soil a few weeks after planting
Types of mulch: wood chips, newspaper (not color), straw, grass clippings (no chemicals)
8) Water Plants regularly and deeply: Tomatoes require consistent moisture to produce a crop of smooth and unblemished fruit
A tomato is 95% water!
Need lots of water to grow and develop fruit
Should receive 1 to 2 inches of water a week.
No overhead watering…no sprinkler. Water splashes on leaves and causes soil to splash on leaves.
Soaker hose is best
Water plants at base
Soak the soil thoroughly when watering. Frequent light watering will encourage weak root system.
Watch container plants…anything in pot.
plastic heats up quickly
may need to be watered twice a day
9) Keep Plants off the Ground
Staking plants will help reduce losses due to leaf diseases
Keep fruit off the ground
Round metal cage (heavier metal the better)
Metal stake in ground/ Metal cage
Use twisty ties to hold up branches to cage…be gentle
Easier to pick tomatoes when ripe…do not let over ripen.
10) Clean Up Garden Area after Harvest
Some pathogens over-winter on infected plant debris
Important to dispose of:
Leaf fungus can persist in soil
Determinate: Tomato plants whose vines make little or no growth once fruit is set. Most of the fruit develops at the same time.
Indeterminate: Vines keep producing new shoots, blossoms and fruit throughout the growing season.
Heirloom Tomatoes are open pollinated plants. They often do not produce as many tomatoes as hybrids, but typically taste better.
Hybrid Tomatoes are plants that have been controlled breeding and have some good qualities such as disease-resistance bred in them.
UMN Extension – Disorders of Tomatoes
UMN Extension – Growing Tomatoes, Peppers & Eggplants in Minnesota Home Gardens