Use the best seed starting mix you can get not plotting soil, not topsoil, only the best soil-less seed starting mix. Start the seed about 5 to 8 week before you plan to transplant outdoors. Thoroughly moisten the seed start mix and place it in a tray. Plant seed in the mix and cover with a plastic bag with the end propped open for a little air circulation. Place the tray in a warm spot such as on top of a TV. etc. or use a heating mat to get 70-85 degrees F. The minute you see the first seedling germinating, remove the bag and place the tray under grow light for 16 hours/day. Keep the temperature between 50 -85 degrees F. When the first leaves on the seedlings are about ½ inch long, transplant them into individual cells or pots. Bury them up nearly to the leaves so the stem can root, then place it back under a grow light and let it develop. Apply 2 feedings of 1 level teaspoon of 15-30-15 to a gallon of water.
The perfect planting day is a cloudy or overcast. If you must plant when it is sunny, do it early or later in the day so that the seedlings aren’t as stressed by the strong light. Place tomato plant 24”-30” apart, allow 5 to 6 feet between rows to allow room for plants and room for you to move weed, water, fertilize and pick. Dig a hole twice as big as the plant’s root ball. Use one hole for every tomato plant. Dig a trench 6 inches deep in the length of your planting area. About an hour before planting, water your tomatoes thoroughly. Fill hole1/3 full with topsoil. Add 1-2 scoops compost and a handful of fertilizer. Mix it well, add water to the hole and clip off the lower set leaves.
One of the simplest yet most important rules on watering of tomato plants is watering slowly. Don’t just empty the buckets on the soil surrounding plant. Another important point is watering tomatoes regularly, there’s no exact figure when it comes to regular watering tomatoes. You need to water tomato plants at the roots instead of pouring the water from top, because it encourages pests and diseases and water present on the leaves could burn the plant when the sun comes out.
Weeds compete with tomato plants for sunlight, nutrient and water. In the average garden, weeds are best controlled through cultivation, tomato plants have to be harvested early or by mulching. Weed can also e removed by hand, with a hoe or by cultivation. Mulch helps suppress weed growth, reduce water loss and stabilize soil temperature.
Mould is a common fungal that affects tomato plants. One of the causes of molding on tomato is the initial contamination is usually from the wind carried fungal spores which infect the host which is the tomato plant through a point of damage such as insect damage, decaying plant tissue or pruning wounds The most common symptom of mould infection is a grey-brown furry mould on shriveled buds and flowers. Controlling mould is all about maintaining healthy growing conductions and that means a dry well ventilated environment.
Staking or placing a cage around the plant, makes it easier to harvest and in some cases to cultivate tomatoes. When staking plants use wooden stakes about 8 feet long and 1 ½ inches wide. Insert the stake about 4 inches from the plant. Do this soon after transplanting to prevent root damage. Set the stakes 1 ½ to 2 feet deep for good support. Tie stripes...