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How to Maintain Tomatoes

Since 14 days past after transplanting, you can consider erecting taller stakes or tomato cages the growth of tomato vines. The stakes should be at least 0.7-2 inches long. The stake should be inserted 12-23 inches deep into the soil, at least 2 inches far from the plant. Use string to tie the plant to the stake in two loose loops so it doesn’t strangle the plant. Bamboo poles, scrap wood, cable bushings or iron bars can all be used as stakes. In a less common practice, “trailer” tomatoes can be attached to racks or fences, just like grapes, beans, squash, and other vines. Such a tomato variety is very productive, but not very popular because it is too large for convenience (there is also an “unshaped” tomato, which is not vine-climbing; a third “solid” tomato is more like shrubs). “Solid-type” tomatoes grow to a certain height and size and will significantly slow down or even stop growing. The “unshaped” tomato grows continuously and spreads out on the ground.

Tomato cages should be at least 47 inches high, or higher if the plants are growing well. Some may grow up to 70 inches tall in the cage, in which case you may have to insert a stake and tie the cage to the stake. In addition, if the tomatoes are heavy, the cage may be bent, and the summer storm may also pour the cage down, so be careful. While the tomato is growing, take care to keep the leaves and secondary stems growing inside the cage at all times.

You can make your own tomato cage if you want. Take a roll of solder wire, and a hollow, 2 × 2 × 4 inches square pole for garden fences and tie the pole to the two uprights. Of course, you can also tie more poles between the two uprights to increase the height, so that when the plants grow taller, they will not be knocked down by the wind. Encircling these “cages” into a column can make a large cage 45 cm wide. Tie the tomato stalks to the cage with soldered wire in a circle. This cage needs strong stakes to support.

Choose whether to use chemical fertilizers. Do not use lawn fertilizer. The proportions of minerals in lawn fertilizers are beautiful for stem and leaf growth, not fruit-promoting. You need to find vegetable fertilizers that promote fruit growth. Tomatoes grow very well if organic fertilizers are applied to the soil. If you are going to use chemical fertilizers, it is best to only apply half the amount recommended on the package at a time, and double the frequency of fertilizer application to avoid the gap between fertile and barren due to long fertilization intervals. Over-fertilizing can cause plants to grow too quickly, making them more susceptible to disease and bugs. Remember, your goal in growing tomatoes is to harvest the fruit, not just let it grow leaves. Excessive use of fertilizers or choose the wrong type of fertilizer can result in plants that grow leaves and fail to bear fruit.

When tomato begins to bloom and pollinate, you need to gently shake the stem to help pollination, 1-2 times a week for 5 seconds each time. Exports have proven that shaking the stalks makes the divisions more evenly distributed, thereby increasing tomato yields. Results begin 45 to 90 days (about 60 days) after transplanting. The initial fruit is generally small and green, so be patient until the fruit grows and becomes brighter and darker in color. This means the fruit is ripe and ready to be picked. The taste of the pulp becomes slightly soft, which also indicates that the fruit is ripe. Note that you can only pick tomatoes with your entire palm, and do not pinch it with your fingertips, as this will crush the fruit. Also be careful not to overripe the tomatoes, as the fruit will be too soft. Be aware that birds, possums, raccoon and some dogs come to steal plants like ripe tomatoes, corn and bell peppers.

If you like, you can pick the fruit earlier and let it ripen indoors. The fruit can be picked at any times as it begins to change to its fully ripe colour and placed on a sunny windowsill. That way it doesn’t overripe and rot on the vine, or get eaten by birds or squirrels outside. But let the tomatoes ripen naturally on the vine for a sweeter taste. So you need to find a balance between the risk of not picking and the good taste.

Protect ripe fruit from animal mouths. Firstly, Carefully put a sandwich-type ziplock bag on the fruit that is about to ripen, and cover the fruit and stem to protect the fruit from being eaten by animals. Secondly, Press and close the bag mouth from both ends, leaving a 0.2 inch-long opening on each side of the stem when approaching the fruit to allow air to enter. Thirdly, cut one bottom corner of the bag open so air and water can flow. In hot weather, you need to leave more air holes, a 0.4 inch slit will do. Don’t be discouraged if the animals eat the fruit; it’s better to take the time to bag them though! Here’s another trick: put some red Christmas tree ornaments around the top of the tomato cage, the birds will be tricked into pecking at those things, and your tomatoes are safe.

Growing tomatoes in tomato pots. If you live in a place with a small area of land or even only one corridor, grow tomatoes in grow bags. Use a grow bag with a height of about 17-24 inches and a width of about 15-20, and fill it with soil, fertilizer, etc. Plant the tomatoes and cover the soil with a layer of black plastic to allow water to pass through the small holes. Cut edges into rounds and tuck them into the soil to keep out weeds, feral cats, and bugs. Insert 3-4 wooden, bamboo or plastic rods around the main stem and tie the main stem with vegetable tape or gauze in multiple places to support its growth.

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