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Botanical name: Lycopersicon esculentum

Plant type: Vegetable

USDA Hardiness Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Loamy

Soil pH: Acidic

Tomatoes are America’s favorite garden vegetable. (Yes, we technically eat the fruit of the tomato plant, but it's used as a vegetable in eating and cooking and, thus, usually categorized in vegetables.)

This vine plant is fairly easy to grow and will produce a bumper crop with proper care. Its uses are versatile, however, tomatoes are susceptible to a range of pests and diseases.


  • If you're planting seeds (versus purchasing transplants), you'll want to start your seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the average last spring frost date. See our post on "Tomatoes From Seed the Easy Way."
  • Select a site with full sun and well-drained soil. For northern regions, is is VERY important that your site receives at least 6 hours of sun. For souther regions, light afternoon shade will help tomatoes survive and thrive.
  • Two weeks before transplanting seedlings outdoors, till soil to about 1 foot and mix in aged manure, compost, or fertilizer.
  • Harden off transplants for a week before moving outdoors.
  • Transplant after last spring frost when the soil is warm. See our Best Planting Dates for Transplants for your region.
  • Establish stakes or cages in the soil at the time of planting. Staking keeps developing fruit off the ground, while caging let’s the plant hold itself upright. Some sort of support system is recommended, but sprawling can also produce fine crops if you have the space, and if the weather cooperates.
  • Plant seedlings two feet apart.
  • Pinch off a few of the lower branches on transplants, and plant the root ball deep enough so that the remaining lowest leaves are just above the surface of the soil.
  • Water well to reduce shock to the roots.


  • Water generously for the first few days.
  • Water well throughout growing season, about 2 inches per week during the summer. Keep watering consistent!
  • Mulch five weeks after transplanting to retain moisture.
  • To help tomatoes through periods of drought, find some flat rocks and place one next to each plant. The rocks pull up water from under the ground and keep it from evaporating into the atmosphere.
  • Fertilize two weeks prior to first picking and again two weeks after first picking.
  • If using stakes, prune plants by pinching off suckers so that only a couple stems are growing per stake.
  • Practice crop rotation from year to year to prevent diseases that may have over wintered.


Tomatoes are susceptible to insect pests, especially tomato hornworms and whiteflies. Link to our pest & problem pages below.

  • Aphids
  • Flea Beetles
  • Tomato Hornworm
  • Whiteflies
  • Blossom-End Rot
  • Late Blight is a fungal disease that can strike during any part of the growing season. It will cause grey, moldy spots on leaves and fruit which later turn brown. The disease is spread and supported by persistent damp weather. This disease will overwinter, so all infected plants should be destroyed. See our blog on "Avoid Blight With the Right Tomato."
  • Tobacco Mosaic Virus creates distorted leaves and causes young growth to be narrow and twisted, and the leaves become mottled with yellow. Unfortunately, infected plants should be destroyed (but don't put them in your compost pile).
  • Cracking: When fruit growth is too rapid, the skin will crack. This usually occurs in uneven water or uneven moisture due to weather conditions (very rainy periods mixed with dry periods). Keep moisture levels constant with consistent watering and mulching.


  • Leave your tomatoes on the vine as long as possible. If any fall off before they appear ripe, place them in a paper bag with the stem up and store them in a cool, dark place.
  • Never place tomatoes on a sunny windowsill to ripen; they may rot before they are ripe!
  • The perfect tomato for picking will be firm and very red in color, regardless of size, with perhaps some yellow remaining around the stem. A ripe tomato will be only slightly soft.
  • If your tomato plant still has fruit when the first hard frost threatens, pull up the entire plant and hang it upside down in the basement or garage. Pick tomatoes as they redden.
  • Never refrigerate fresh tomatoes. Doing so spoils the flavor and texture that make up that garden tomato taste.
  • To freeze, core fresh unblemished tomatoes and place them whole in freezer bags or containers. Seal, label, and freeze. The skins will slip off when they defrost.

See more on properly storing tomatoes and vegetables.

Recommended Varieties

Tomatoes grow in all sizes, from tiny "currant" to "cherry" to large "beefsteak." There are hundreds of varieties to suit different climates and tastes. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • ‘Amish Paste’: Large paste tomatoes, good slicers.
  • ‘Brandywine’: A beefsteak with perfect acid-sweet combination. Many variants are available.
  • ‘Matt’s Wild Cherry’: Foolproof in any climate, cherries bear abundant fruit in high or low temps and in rain or drought.

For more about tomato varieties, see our post on "Tomato Trials: from blue to grafted; what grew this summer."


Cooking Notes

Capture the garden-fresh taste of tomatoes all year long! See this helpful post on how to can tomatoes.

Wit & Wisdom

In 1522, Spanish explorers returned home from the New World with tomatoes. Wealthy people believed that the fruits were poisonous. Only the peasants were brave (and hungry) enough to eat them.

Ease a headache by drinking tomato juice blended with fresh basil.


Beginner gardener here, been

By Chad Hanson on March 24

Beginner gardener here, been reading about most of the plants i would like to attempt at growing, tomatoes being one of them.

Back to my point, what does it mean by water two inches? I know it doesnt mean only two inches in area. So im guessing depth?

Correct. You are trying to

By Almanac Staff on March 24

Correct. You are trying to give as much water over the entire week as a one-time 2-inch rainfall (2-inch depth over your entire garden plot). A rain gauge set on the ground near your plants will help you to check the amount of water that they are receiving.

Hi, I'm new to this and just

By Leigh_Ann

Hi, I'm new to this and just moved into a new place that has only a back wooden patio. I want to grow tomatoes in a 20 gallon storage tote. Any advice on how that might play out? Also I'm thinking of putting my early girl transplant on one end and some cherry tomato seeds on the other. Would the two different varieties of tomatoes in a small space be problematic?

Hi Leigh, Tomatoes grow well

By Almanac Staff

Hi Leigh,

Tomatoes grow well in containers and a storage tote will work well if you make sure it has drainage holes. Use good quality soil mixed with compost or aged manure. Plant the seeds first and let them germinate before you plant the Early Girl transplant.

i am learning about tomatoes

By Megan Baggott

i am learning about tomatoes for homework and was wondering about how long it takes for them to grow(approximately)

Days to maturity for tomatoes

By Almanac Staff

Days to maturity for tomatoes depends on the variety. Generally, it takes 45 to 60 days to mature to a ripe red. Early-season varieties can take less time; late-season varieties can take more time. Growing conditions also affect maturation.

Hello, I am looking to do a

By Delainie

Hello, I am looking to do a science project with tomato seeds. So far I have not chosen a type of tomato but I am looking for some advice on a type of tomatoe seed to simply germinating on a wicking sheet and having an automated dripper drip on the sheet to allow the seeds to draw whatever moisture it needs. And will this set up work for tomatoes? What type of tomato would work best?

Germination rate will depend

By Almanac Staff

Germination rate will depend on many factors, including the age of the seed, the variety, how the seed has been stored, the conditions it is in (warmth, water, etc.), whether it is healthy, and so on. For your experiment, be sure to get certified disease-free seeds, and use seeds that are fresh for best results (packaged for 2015). Select seeds that look healthy and plump. Provide warmth, of between 70F to 80F; a seedling heat mat is helpful, or the top of the refrigerator. Spread the seeds so that they are not touching each other. The seeds will need air as well as water, so be sure that they are not waterlogged.
As to the variety or type of tomato: Check the "days to germination" times listed on seed packets. Some varieties might have longer germination times than others.
As soon as your seeds have sprouted, they'll need to have access to nutrients, light, etc. A soilless mix is good. Be very careful not to disturb the new root when planting the sprouted seed. Good luck!

Hello, I have not seen this

By Joan Y


I have not seen this question asked. This was my first year to tomatoes in containers and I sadly had minimal success but am willing to try again next spring with new information in hand. My question is this, after the tomato
crop is done, is the soil that the tomatos were growing in still good for growing
anything else? Can I use that soil for frowing bulbs or flowers? Do I need to
"treat" the soil or amend it further for flowers or other vegetables?

Hi Joan, Yes, you can reuse

By Almanac Staff

Hi Joan,

Yes, you can reuse the soil next year. Just don't grow tomatoes in the same soil two years in a row. You can leave the soil in the containers if you put them in an area that doesn't freeze. Otherwise empty the soil into a trash can or heavy duty plastic bag. Remove any roots or weeds first. Next spring amend the soil with about one third fresh soil/compost mix and start planting.

I have replanted from seed in

By Tracy M.

I have replanted from seed in mid September some Rutger and Beefsteak tomatoes. They are in individual pots and I have 6 of them andalso some beets planted at same time. WHen time comes for first frost I want to bring them indoors. Will they still thrive and fruit being they are indoors for the winter? They will be by my window that brings in a lot of sun. Will they still fruit when being indoors?

I live in co springs so its

By samiakuma

I live in co springs so its been a very hot summer i have plants thathaven't produced tomatoes til last week ( beefeater and purple cherokee) and ive discovered that perhaps its bc the temps were too high. My early girl produced a handful, but thats it. Now the plants appear to by dying off bc less sunlight as fall is getting near. Some are just looking dry! Besides a few dying limbs and one whole purple cherokee plant is dying, they still look very healthy yet have only one fruit each on them besides the early girl :-( .
On to my question. .. i was cleaning out my house and had a lot of seeds ive been collecting over the years i honestly didn't think theyd sprout at all bc they were old, in an effort to clean out my house i threw them all out in random buckets of dirt and lo n behold about thirty little tomato plants have popped up since late june when planted.... should i maybe just... bring them indoors for the winter once the cool sets in or are they doomed to dying anyhow? How would i keep the plants cool enough to produce next year while still getting enough sun? I never hasuccess growing much in MS / AL and these appeared to grow so well im disappointed i did not get much fruit though. Perhaps next year i could put on the front porch and it could get afternoon sun? I just have to hope i dont have thieving neighbors i guess. I am on base so there are a lot of restrictions to what i can do. I want to just build a greenhouse i already have two heat lamps for this, but the neighbors said dont bother it just gets way too cold here.

You can overwinter tomatoes

By Almanac Staff

You can overwinter tomatoes indoors by putting them close to a sunny window. As the seedlings grow bigger you need to transplant them into individual pots with fresh soil. With some luck you should be able to keep some of the seedlings growing all winter and then transplant them outdoors next season.

I'm a complete novice and

By Nancy Apicella

I'm a complete novice and thus my questions will reflect that experience. My plants are not producing tomatoes at all. They appear to fine, they are growing tall but I am getting these purplish flowers at the tips of the plants. Should I remove them?

Do you know what variety of

By Almanac Staff

Do you know what variety of tomato you are growing? Tomatoes usually have yellow flowers. Do you think it might be something other than a tomato, such as a potato or eggplant (or a volunteer weed like nightshade)? If it is a tomato, then leave the flowers. These should grow into the fruit if properly pollinated and weather conditions are right. Cold temperatures can delay or prevent flowering; too much nitrogen can also inhibit flowering, as it encourages leaf growth instead.

My question is about

By livibug27

My question is about transplanting. I planted (for some crazy reason) 20 tomato starts in a space around 45square ft! Things are getting crazy. Should I transplant to thin the jungle and which one(s);stronger or weaker plants. Keep in mind I haven't been pinching back suckers which I will now.

Dig upp the weaker plants

By Almanac Staff

Dig upp the weaker plants carefully so that you don't disturb the roots of the neighbors. Transplant them to a sunny spot, water and give the plants some support (tomato cages or stakes).

So it's august. This is my

By Agatha

So it's august. This is my first time having any fruits or veggies. Basically growing anything. When does the season end? What do I do with my plant after??

Hi Agatha, It all depends on

By Almanac Staff

Hi Agatha,
It all depends on where you live when the growing season ends. Check our frost date calculator to see when the first frost will hit your location this fall.

So here is my second

By WHekimyan

So here is my second question. And by the way I tried to read all the posts to see if my questions are covered but there are SO many posts and responses and sometimes they almost answer my questions but not completely :)

Anyway, I decided to prune my tomato plants yesterday. Didn't realize I should or could do that until I read your forum. Some parts I cut off (some I accidentally bent or broke off) that could be used to start new plants, as I've seen others on here talk about.

So I was just going to get a new pot of dirt and stick the cuttings in. Do I need to do it any particular way or just stick them in (as if they were full plants with roots) up to the lowest branch? Or is there a better method?

I also read somewhere that someone was growing a cutting in water and it had grown roots. Is there a reason to grow in dirt or could I just keep the cuttings in water?

So this is my first time

By WHekimyan

So this is my first time every really trying to garden. I live in Eugene area of Oregon. My mom has more experience than I do and she took me out to buy different tomato plants. I bought both determinate and indeterminate, some heirloom types, some cherry tomatoes, some beef steak and some Oregon Spring types.

Anyway, this part of Oregon isn't known for its extreme heat but this year we've had a couple of weeks where 4-5 days in a row, the temps have been 90+ degrees. Since that is not the norm, do I need to garden the tomatoes as if I lived in a place where high temps are the norm and do things like shade them and such?

I have an additional question but I'll post it separately :)

I have planted 4 different

By wanda wisecup

I have planted 4 different tomato plants in front of my front porch railing. They are all doing great but I need to know exactly what suckers are as I need to do this. I am in Michigan and our weather here has been great and I have lots of flowers and some tomatoes the size of golf balls, they seemed to come out over night. please explain or show me a diagram of what to pinch off so the plants will produce nice tomatoes! Thank you.

Remove the suckers (new

By Almanac Staff

Remove the suckers (new growth between a branch and the main stem) from your plant to have a stronger plant with fewer branches. Use your fingers to pinch them off and do the pinching on a dry day when the leaves are not wet.

My tomatoes are growing


My tomatoes are growing nicely, but all of a sudden they are splitting. As if the skin can't hold the inside in. Any thoughts? This is my first attempt and have yielded a fair amount.

Cracking: When fruit growth

By Kandy Stewart

Cracking: When fruit growth is too rapid, the skin will crack. This usually occurs in uneven water or uneven moisture due to weather conditions (very rainy periods mixed with dry periods). Keep moisture levels constant with consistent watering and mulching.

i have the same problem .

By albert wohlleben

i have the same problem .

This is indeed a common

By Almanac Staff

This is indeed a common issue. We refer to it as "Cracking" above. When fruit growth is too rapid, the skin will crack. This usually occurs in uneven water or uneven moisture. Either the weather is very rainy or very dry.  Or, one forgets to water and then pours on too much water. Keep moisture levels constant with consistent watering and mulching.

My solution to this very

By tomatoelover

My solution to this very common problem I'm a novice this is only my third season but I've always used upside down tomatoes planters I have a few lined up on my fence in about 5 plants spaced a few inches apart all diferant varieties beefsteak to Roma and cherry tomatoes I had a few crackiling issues my first season but I solved the problem I simply put a bag over the top after I watered it simply not allowing water to pour in the top covering it and since its upside down it limits the water that goes in even on a rainy day staying steady with daily watering is the best thing

I have a tomato plant, in a

By Robynetta

I have a tomato plant, in a pot, on my sun porch that I started growing in fall last year from seed form, as an experiment. LOL. The plant is beautiful. It is green and lush and even had yellow flowers earlier in the season, yet never produced fruit. Is it too late to plant it outside now? I am in GA. If yes, if I keep it in the pot until next year and transplant it outside, in the spring, will it produce fruit?

Thank you

I'm thinking that it might be

By Almanac Staff

I'm thinking that it might be too late to plant it outside now, since it is at such a late stage in its growth. Tomatoes don't like to have their roots disturbed, so planting it out now, even after hardening it off (getting it used to the outdoor climate by introducing it for longer and longer periods to the outside), will probably slow it down so that it will not produce before frost. The plant may not have produced fruit because there were no pollinators indoors. If the plant does produce flowers again, jiggle the flowers a little to shake the pollen onto the female part of the flower (which is self-fertile). Tomatoes can be grown as tender perennials in warmer climates. Some people have had success in keeping their plants going indoors for several years, without a greenhouse--just keep them warm (night about 60 degrees, day below 90F) and moist, and provide enough sun. Indeterminate type tomatoes will do better as tender perennials than determinate types, as determinates will stop growing after a certain point. Good luck!

I'm in Michigan..suburbs

By Newbie

I'm in Michigan..suburbs outside Detroit... and we have had some goofy weather this year. I planted a small garden for the first time this weekend and I am completely confused! Of course I should have done some research first but I did not...instead I just listened to many others tell me what they thought I should do. I planted a few cherry tomato plants and several early girls (shorter time frame). I actually planted extras as I figured I would kill half of them because I didn't know what I was doing and that way I would at least get some. Lol. Anyway......a couple are caged and most others were staked. We used miracle grow and the plants are huge to the point I cannot even get in between them now and the plants are falling over with the stakes! The stakes were in the soil at least 6-8 in if not more. The cages are even starting to fall over. I'm not sure what to do with it at this point. Also, I seem to have a ton of tomatoes but nothing is ripening. My sister-in-law planted same stuff and she's been getting ripened fruits. My sweet banana peppers, cucumbers, bell peppers and jalapeños are doing great and producing more than I can even eat! I've started doing more research and with a few exceptions....mulch for moisture and pruning "sucker" branches (which I can't do now as I can't get the the bottom of the plants as they are so huge....they look like one giant bush now! I'm not sure what I can do at this point. Please help!

because you should have not

By young planter

because you should have not use anything to help it grow you should of let it grow on its on duh #next ime lmao

That is a cold area with temp

By Georgie B

That is a cold area with temp fluctuations be patient!Also 6-8 inches deep is not that deep when your plants gets big and heavy laden with fruit for now drive a shorter stake in right up against the other one and drive it in deeper and then tie them or together or a couple of screws!As far as not ripening that could be a variation of causes but one is definitely to much foliage so heat of sun cannot get to tomato to help it ripen and I personally have no problem with Mircle Grow I use it a very little bit to start things off but when we use excess chemical fertilizers it has a tendicy to kill off the friendly bacteria in the soil that has a symbiotic relationship with the plant and the bacteria is needed to break down the natural elements and break down the organic matter to make it available for the plant to take it up it stem for a healthy producing and ripening life plus sound like you crowded them to close if so sounds harsh but pull weed out every other one also when they are in the advanced growth stage its time to back way off the fertilizer if any at all cause it is late in the season now and it causes to much vegitative growth also cut off all remaining blossoms and tomatos that are very small cause they will never mayure and takes the energy away from the big ones that need to ripen! Hope this helps!

Try to secure the cages with

By Almanac Staff

Try to secure the cages with stakes driven deep into the soil. You can also add another cage or two around the perimeter for the plants to rest on. 'Early Girl' tomatoes are indeterminate, which means that they will keep growing until frost (determinates will stop after a certain point). Indeterminate tomatoes require more pruning to keep them in bounds. For more information, see:
As for ripening, pruning will help the plant to focus its energy on the developing fruit. You can also remove some of the fruit to let the others grow larger. Temperatures over 85F or cool temperatures can slow ripening. In hot weather, provide a little shade in the afternoon. Keep soil moist (mulch is good).

What causes black rot on the

By Tom Flick

What causes black rot on the bottom early in their development. Am I watering too much ? Thanks

Black rot or blossom-end rot

By Almanac Staff

Black rot or blossom-end rot has to do with lack of calcium in the soil--which is usually brought out by too much rain or drought or wide fluctuations in watering. Liming will supply calcium in the soil. Also, avoid ammoniacal nitrogen as a fertilizer and  avoid over-fertilization as side dressings during early fruiting. Finally, be careful to water very consistently -- about one inch of moisture per week.

I think my tomatoes are going

By Jacob Wentz

I think my tomatoes are going to need a big bandaid. I was trying to correct my support system and in the process on branch with many tomatoes on it seemed to have broken due to the weight. I immediately gave it more support at the break but am wondering if they will continue to turn red as they are very green presently.

If the tomato stem completely

By Almanac Staff

If the tomato stem completely broke off, you can't patch it up but the plant will heal itself.  Pick the tomatoes off the vine and put them in a room at room temperature to ripen.
To avoid having branches break next year, here are some ideas: cage your tomatoes, plant your tomato plants deeper for stronger support, and always harvest tomatoes as soon as they are ripe. Yields are even better if you harvest at first blush before they are fully ripe.

can you water tomatoes to

By Al Chacon

can you water tomatoes to much i water every morning for ten minutes it soaks the ground, i live in the desert where it gets very hot

In the desert, it is best to

By Almanac Staff

In the desert, it is best to water tomatoes at the roots, never the leaves. The soil should remain moist, drying slightly between waterings, but it should never be allowed to dry completely, nor should it remain too soggy. Water deeply (2 to 3 feet) once a week during the cooler weather and increase watering to 2 or 3 times a week in the summer. Mulch heavily with organic material to help maintain and moderate soil moisture. Watering is most critical when plants are producing flowers and fruit. 

Hi, I am in el cajon ca. I

By kevin fay

Hi, I am in el cajon ca. I have tomatoes coming in strong. The leaves are turning yellow and some of them are grayish. So what I have read on some of these readers and your responses, its because as a rookie tomato grower!! I watered the leaves and that is big reason for it. My question is? With the tomatoes looking healthy and all, will I be able to use them, or should I get rid of them because the leaves and all?

Most any disease, pest, or

By Almanac Staff

Most any disease, pest, or cultural problem (such as leaf burn from watering) will not make the tomato fruits inedible, but might affect flavor if the plant is under a lot of stress, or the tomato fruit is not developing well or is damaged. You should be able to use the tomatoes, however, after cutting out any bad parts. If leaves are wilting or dropping, provide temporary light shade for the plant during the hot afternoon sun to help prevent sunscald of the fruit. Check for pests and diseases on the plant, in case that is what is causing the yellowing leaves. Remove any fallen leaves, in case they hold disease.

re: egg shells. I save my

By tommy tomato

re: egg shells. I save my egg shells and when I get enough of them, I pulverize them and put them in the soil
just before transplanting. There is no blossom end rot this year. Also when transplanting tomatoes, I put a tsp of Epson salt in each plant. also, my elderly Italian neighbor uses old bedsheets to tent and shade the tomatoes when the temperature is in the 90's for more than two days. He says the tomatoes will "bolt" when the tomatoes are stressed by the heat.

I live in northeast Al. We

By kengreen,maters

I live in northeast Al. We are having a lot of afternoon showers, my tomatoes won't turn red. What can I do?

You can pick all the tomatoes

By mika mane

You can pick all the tomatoes you want, wash them and dry them, then put them in a plastic freezer bag with one ripe apple among them. Use a toothpick to make a couple of holes on the bag and close the bag. Put the bag in a room with lots of sun, at a sunny place (like near the window).
The tomatoes should ripe in 5-6 days and their taste will be just the same as you picked them in your garden.
This 'technique' is also used for tomatoes that aren't yet ripe when the summer's at its end, but there are still some useful quantity in the garden.
Good luck!

I have a small grow box and

By LaRayne

I have a small grow box and the manufacturer said to plant only 2 tomato plants in the box. I did that and at first they were growing like crazy but then one of the plants leaves started curling and drying out on the edges of the leaves. It still has some blossoms and hasn't dies but the other plant is now double the sized and probably has 4 times the blossoms. I'm afraid the plant will die. They both are in the same soil, same water, same fertilizer. What can I do?

Are the two tomato plants the

By Almanac Staff

Are the two tomato plants the same variety? If not that could be the reason for the different growth rate. We suggest that you remove the weaker tomato and plant it in its own container.

How do you suggest staking

By val h

How do you suggest staking the plants? We can't afford to buy tons of cages but have some bamboo stakes. How and with what do you tie them up with?

Hi, Val: In a word: gently,

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Val: In a word: gently, because tomato plants can be fragile. And on the north side. And below where major "branches" grow, not above. Other than that, don't get too stressed over it. Bamboo stakes are fine. With any stakes, you need to keep moving the ties up, or else adding new ones. Use what you have. In our admittedly not made-for-TV case, we have some cages. We have some official "tomato stakes." We have some dead sticks and branches from trees. We had some old croquet posts at one (early) point, and some old hiking poles. Whatever. You can string between stakes to hold up plants, too. For ties, we use strips of rags, but you can use old socks, string, twine, wire, flagging tape (like surveyors tie to trees), twist ties twisted together, or cable ties. We also use some double-sided Velcro tape that is meant to keep computer cables together. Just be gentle. Be creative and have fun! You know, besides your huge tomatoes, your stakes can be a conversation piece, too!

Our planter boxes are going

By Sue Deming

Our planter boxes are going crazy..We are just not sure how oten to fill the bottom in this heat,,tomatoes are all over the place!

thank you this website helped

By Kassandra Diamond

thank you this website helped both me and my grandmother make our garden successfull

Thank YOU! We wouldn't have

By Almanac Staff

Thank YOU! We wouldn't have had anything to help if you hadn't taken the initiative!

What's the best part of the

By caseydog

What's the best part of the day to pick tomatoes? I'd like to get them in the morning, but I'm off at the rat race before dawn?

Almost all vegetables are

By Almanac Staff

Almost all vegetables are best when harvested early in the morning. So, that should work for you! Harvested tomatoes should be placed in the shade and then at room temperature (70 °F) . The refrigerator will ruin their taste. Tomatoes should be firm and fully colored at harvest. 

Hi I planted tomato plants

By Teresa Dunfee

Hi I planted tomato plants under some shade it gets really hot here in Ohio will they be okay or do they have to have the direct sun

As caseydog says, you need

By Almanac Staff

As caseydog says, you need direct sunlight. In terms of hot summer days, note that tomatoes are of highest quality when temps average 75°F. When they get to 90°F or more, the softening process is accelerated. So, if the temps get this high, pick your tomatoes every day or two, harvesting the fruits when color has started to develop and ripen them further indoors (at 70 to 75°F). Do not put tomatoes in the refrigerator or you ruin their vine-fresh taste.

You need 8 hours of direct

By caseydog

You need 8 hours of direct sun.

Hey there. First time grower

By Timmy tomato

Hey there. First time grower long time eater...I've read many replies about the sucked do you know which are suckered and which are not?

We built a 4x4 raised bed

By Ailie

We built a 4x4 raised bed garden. How many tomato plants can we grow in this space?

I would strongly suggest

By Georgie B

I would strongly suggest first if it is a wooden raised bed to screw one long stake up against about 3 inches down the outside of your raised bed perfect set up then I usually put one tomato plant almost right in each corner that is four plants please do not put them toward the center of each quadrene cause they will be to close and compete for the food and water and get unhealthy plants prone to desease and minimize the needed air flow

Hi, Ailie: It somewhat

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Ailie: It somewhat depends on the type(s) of tomato, but it sounds to us like your answer is four. Put one plant in the center of each of the four quadrants of your box.

Hi,I'm Amanda my tomato plant

By Amanda612

Hi,I'm Amanda
my tomato plant has a few leaves on the bottom half that have whitish more fluffy looking small spots that are about 3/4 centimeters in diameter. Also a few of its leaves have yellowish patches. Is this normal and is there something i should do about it

Well this could be a couple

By George Bouthillier

Well this could be a couple of things so I will give you inexpensive ways to treat it with ingredients you usually have in you kitchen!Blight,powdery or downy mildew!Here are all the ways to treat but alternate all these every 2 to 3 day for a couple of weeks then back off alittle on the treatment but be sure first to clear about atleast the bottom 12 inches of leaves of the plant to increase air circulation that will minimize the blight and mildew problems and disinfect sissors as you trim off the branches so you do not spread it to other plants and be sure to burn the infected leaves or seal them in a garbage bag and throw them away cause they will survive and infect you next years new planting!Ok that said take a couple table spoons of cornmeal and powdered milk each and mix in the surface of soil around the plant the cornmeal feeds the friendly bacteria that will have that have the ability to controll and minimize blight whitch is a soil born illness that splashes on the plant during rain and watering and infects your leaves and plant,the milk just has the ability to minimize bad mildew growth and also minimizes the effect of tobacco mosaic and assists in stopping blossom end rot,then make different plant sprays and alternate them from day to day ,1 tablespoon of bakingsoda to 1 gallon water with about 1-2 teaspoons of castile soad or a mild dish washinf liquid so it sticks to the plant,in a blender puree 5 to 10 cloves of garlic in hot water then strain threw a fine tea strainer or cloth rag into a 1 gallon container of water and spray entire plant,also in very warm water 1 gallon jar with sealed top put in 1 cup of cornmeal shake well wrap with a towel or similar to keep warm let steep for atleast 8 to 24 hours then strain threw fine tea strainer or similar and spray entire plant also you can take 3 tablespoons of powdered milk or alittle more mix with 1 gallon water mix mild castile or dish liquid so it adheres to plants spray entire plant! This part is very critical DO NOT DO IT LATE IN THE DAY OR NEAR DUSK CAUSE THE EXTRA DAMPNESS ON THE PLANT WILL STAY THERE TO LONG AND MAKE YOUR PROBLEM WORSE PLEASE DO IT IN THE EARLY MORNING BEFORE THE BEES AND POLLINATORS START THEIR WORK ALL OF IT IS BASICALLY NON POISONOUS IT IS JUST TROUBLESOME TO AVOID THE BEES AND SUCH i STRONGLY SUGGEST TO USE THE GARLIC SPRAY IT IS VERY UNIVERSAL AND EFFECTIVE BUT FOR A SHORT WHILE VERY SHORT THE POLLINATORS WILL AVOID THE AREA FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME BUT YOU HAVE NO CHOICE EITHER USE WHAT WORKS THAT IS NON POISONOUS OR LOOSE SOME PLANTS OR HAVE UNHEALTHY PLANT WITH SEVERE HEALTH ISSUES THAT MANY TIMES LIMITS YOUR HARVEST AND CAN CAUSE THE LOSS OF SOME OR ALOT OF YOUR PLANTS DEPENDING ON HOW SEVERE YOU LET IT GET A HOLD OF THE PLANTS BEFORE YOU ADDRESS THE ISSUE TO SAFE AND MINIMIZE THE PROBLEMS SORRY FOR SUCH LONG DETAIL BUT I HOPE THIS HELPS YOU!!

It sounds like your tomato

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like your tomato plant might have powdery mildew, which shows up as yellow patches on leaves, but also a bit of the characteristic powdery white growth. This interferes with the vigor of the plant and fruit size, but should not kill it, unless severe (it will kill individual leaves). To avoid, water the plant only on the bottom, as wet leaves tend to encourage the disease. Also, provide good air circulation and sunlight. To treat, consult a local garden nursery for various products, organic and inorganic depending on your preference. A common preventative involves formulas containing sulfur; horticultural oil is a common treatment if the disease is already there. Also, remove affected leaves (only remove up to a third of the leaves on the plant, though). Clean tools before and after pruning.

with my tomato plants, I have

By T.Hunt

with my tomato plants, I have the little yellow flowers opening up and I tear them off for the plant to grow more. When should I stop doing this and allow tomatoes to start growing?

The tiny flowers develop into


The tiny flowers develop into tomaoes DO NOT RIP THEM OFF. Instead snip off "suckers" they are a branch between the main stem and an off shoot. THis will increse size and allow plant to develop better.

I have 5 tomato plants. 2

By Erica Gallegos

I have 5 tomato plants. 2 large and 3 small. I bought them from the FFA club at my high school they are in plastic potting cups according to their size. I have been watering them everyday, they are on my balcony and I'm pretty sure they get about half and half sunlight. But they aren't growing, should I change out the soil? Buy one big rectangle above ground pot for all of them? Please help I don't want them to die.

Hi Erica, Tomatoes need a lot

By Almanac Staff

Hi Erica,
Tomatoes need a lot of sun and warmth to grow. Maybe your outside temps. are still cool. You can repot the tomatoes in bigger containers. Maybe plant the three small plants in one big container. Add some compost to the soil mix and make sure the containers have drainage holes.

Hi, this is my 5th year

By lauralie

Hi, this is my 5th year growing tomatoes. I had a ton of success my first few years, but then I moved and have been struggling to get my tomatoes to grow. This last year was awful so I pulled them all out, fertilized with kellog organic fertilizer and replanted some from my father-in-laws garden. They are from seed from his last crop and seemed to be doing well in that they are a healthy green and flowering with some fruit growing, but they are such small plants. I am used to seeing my tomatoes take off by the second month. I transplanted these in early March.Are they destined to be small runted plants or do I need to fix my soil to help them to grow larger?

I should add that they are

By lauralie

I should add that they are growing in a raised bed against a north facing wall and actually get a lot of shade; with sun in the afternoon.

Tomatoes need a lot of sun

By Almanac Staff

Tomatoes need a lot of sun and being in the shade will stunt their growth. You may want to add some extra compost to the soil. Find out what variety of tomatoes you are growing. Some varieties don't get very big.

In south Nevada I'm growing

By Boehler

In south Nevada I'm growing tomatoes & peppers in 5 gl plastic hits buckets. It is now reaching into the 80's & 90's daytime temps. Should I move my containers into a shaded ara instead of an area that has full sun for about 10 hours. Day? Also I need to trim, how do I do that?

Move your plants to a spot

By Almanac Staff

Move your plants to a spot where they will get some light afternoon shade. You can remove suckers (new growth between a branch and the main stem) from your plant to have a stronger plant with fewer branches.

Hi Almanac Editors, We

By Bec530

Hi Almanac Editors,
We recently started a garden in our yard and for the past two seasons we have had beautiful big green tomatoes. Some of these tomatoes ripen and turn red and others just start rotting. We live in New England and have a fair amount of shade. I'm thinking that the tomatoes are rotting before they are able to ripen because there isn't enough sun. Do you think this is the culprit? Any advice is very much appreciated!

I live in New England aswell

By Georgie B

I live in New England aswell I also have a fair amount of shade so I am careful to stake and cage my tomatos off the ground or they ripen slower and have a tendecy to rot or get fungal deseases!Also I am making an educated guess cause you did not give to much info but it sounds like you might have a case of blossom end rot which starts to cause the tomato to rot at its base this is cause by a lack of calcium in the soil or hopefully you did not water with alot of Epsom salt in your garden and add to much magnisium cause even though a plant loves and needs it it competes with calcium on the plants ability to use it so to much and then your plant can not take up enough cacium and the end of you fruit darkens and rots

I live in New England aswell

By Georgie B

I live in New England aswell I also have a fair amount of shade so I am careful to stake and cage my tomatos off the ground or they ripen slower and have a tendecy to rot or get fungal deseases!Also I am making an educated guess cause you did not give to much info but it sounds like you might have a case of blossom end rot which starts to cause the tomato to rot at its base this is cause by a lack of calcium in the soil or hopefully you did not water with alot of Epsom salt in your garden and add to much magnisium cause even though a plant loves and needs it it competes with calcium on the plants ability to use it so to much and then your plant can not take up enough cacium and the end of you fruit darkens and rots

Tomatoes need as much sun as

By Almanac Staff

Tomatoes need as much sun as possible. Consider growing some plants in containers that you can put in full sun. Sometimes too much rain can also cause rotting.

Tomatoes split because of

By Dinesh Saini

Tomatoes split because of uneven watering. You should water the plants regularly every two to three days. Water deeply and at ground level (don't use a sprinkler). Put some mulch around the plants to keep the soil moist.
Uneven ripening causes white spots inside the fruit. Regular watering will help and use high potassium fertilizer when fruits are the size of a golf ball.

I want to ask u a question,


I want to ask u a question, can i plant tomato seeds right away on my garden? if i planted them indoors, i will get into SERIOUS TROUBLE if there are plants inside my house , there are very strict rules here were i live, i live in SC, any advice?

Yes, you can seed outside

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can seed outside though we'd still start the tomatoes in small seed pots. Sow 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost is forecast into 3-inch pots. When all risk of frost has passed, you can transplant. The plants should be about 6 to 8 inches tall and flowers are forming.

I live in San Antonio, Texas.

By Jo Staples

I live in San Antonio, Texas. We are expecting a freeze over the next few days. I have cherry & brandywine tomato plants still in the ground and producing fruit. Most of what is there is still green. How can I save them? I want to let them ripen. I love my tomatoes. Life without tomatoes (to me) would be unbearable. Do I cover them, do I yank them from the ground??? Please help me save my fall Texas Tomatoes. Thank you.

Place wooden or pvc stakes

By Michael Texas

Place wooden or pvc stakes around the garden area you want to protect from freezing. Length of stakes should be long enough to go into ground about 6-8 inches and stand about 2-3 inches above tallest plants. Purchase large size plastic sheeting (the greater the thickness of plastic, the better the insulation) from a hardware store. Drape sheeting over plants, place rocks or other heavy items along perimeter of sheet to keep it in place. Makes a very good "hot house" and protects plants down to about 25 degrees (overnight temp with a warm day).

I live in Windcrest TX. I

By Abe Abrams

I live in Windcrest TX. I cover mine with a blanket if temp goes below 32 deg.

It would seem a pity to yank

By Almanac Staff

It would seem a pity to yank them.  And them may not last if you do. That would be quite a shock, mid-growth period.
The best thing to do is cover much more than ever. Try a multi-layered method. Wrap the plants in sheets of plastic, even bubble wrap, which has air pockets. Don't necessarily "touch" the plants; use stakes to support the plastic around and over the tops of the group of plants or the plants individually, depending ontheir spacing.
We are watching this current ice storm! Best wishes for your safety as well as your plants' survival.

Thank You. Merry Christmas

By Jo Staples

Thank You. Merry Christmas and may you have a bless-full Holiday Season.

We were gone and had a

By John Quigley

We were gone and had a freeze,, the plants were covered but they froze anyway .. Can the tomatoes be used for anything even if they froze ??

If you harvest them right

By Almanac Staff

If you harvest them right away after the frost you can use them in salsas or tomato sauces. After a couple of days they will turn soft and start rotting.

My tomato plants have reached

By Hossen Namooya

My tomato plants have reached 90 cm and has started flowering.I have been advised to trim the lower leaves of the plants as such trimming is beneficial to the plants because it will give more "force" to the top leaves and the plant will yield better.
How far is this true?

As your plant advances in age

By Georgie B

As your plant advances in age I 100% recommend to gradually trim all bottom branches off to alleast 12 Inches from the soil surface cause that is where your fungal desease start and splash off the soil onto the leaves spreading desease plus good air circulation help prevent disease and has a tendecy to give you a healthy plant with better produce then the enery can go better into fruit production and healthier growth

We suggest to prune plants by

By Almanac Staff

We suggest to prune plants by pinching off suckers so that only a handful of stems are growing on each plant. You will get healthier and bigger tomatoes this way. Also remove any leaves that are touching the soil.

I have 6 tomato plants in

By fabbdebb

I have 6 tomato plants in containers on my porch. Two are in one container that produced but the other plants have not. Those 4 are each in their own container. I live in Los Angeles and the weather has been very strange this year. I have never grown tomatoes before. Will they just be dormant for the winter or will they produce more tomatoes? I pinched the blossoms off earlier in the summer but no tomatoes on the ones in the other containers. Thanks for your help and I hope I am making sense.

It sounds as if your tomatoes

By Almanac Staff

It sounds as if your tomatoes are flowering. The flowers turn into fruit.  (So don't pinch off any flowers!)  If the flowers are present but they are failing to set fruit, the common reason is high temperature. If temps go over 85 degrees F during the day and 75 degrees F at night, tomatoes will have trouble fruiting; you need the weather to cool down. Similarly, when temps get cool and daylight increases, the tomato plants will stop growing.

What causes tomatoes to turn

By greentomato

What causes tomatoes to turn red. Is there anything that can be done to speed up the process?

To ripen, tomatoes prefer

By Almanac Staff

To ripen, tomatoes prefer temperatures between 68 and 77 degrees. The further away from these temps, the slower the ripening process. If it's too hot or cold, they'll stop ripening altogether!
You can't do much to speed up the process except, perhaps, take off the leaves if you feel it's getting too cold and they need more sunlight.
Once the tomatoes have reached the mature green stage, they will ripen off the vine.  Never put tomatoes in a refrigerator; it's too chilly and you'll ruin that off-the-vine taste!

My roommate and I are growing

By KariKahn

My roommate and I are growing some cherry tomato plants together. I was out earlier today, and picked what was red and ripe on the plant. He came home...and picked the ones that weren't ripe. Then proceeded to get angry with me for 'over-picking' and stunting the growth of the plant. I had been away on vacation, so I haven't been home to water it...he has been home, but I don't think he has watered in a while. The plant is about 3' tall, and regularly is yeilding between 10-20 ripe tomatoes a week or more. Now after I come back its saggy and turning brown..but still yeilding. Can you over pick ripe fruit and stunt the plants growth? I've never heard that before, and I've been growing tomatoes since I was itty bitty with my father. Any input would help to settle this debate.

I live in NE TN section of

By Kitty H

I live in NE TN section of the Appalachian Mtns. We have a huge problem with late blight and have had too much rain and cool temperatures this summer. I gave up putting tomatoes in the ground after losing all my in ground tomatoes last summer. It's tomatoes in containers for me. I keep them on the porch and under the eaves to help prevent late blight. You still have to check them twice a day, even using fungicide. I've had a little blight on leaves, but so far the plants are fine. Now, if the tomatoes would just get ripe...

I have a few different tomato

By Vickie Hoffmann

I have a few different tomato plants growing just a small amount, 6 plants one sweet 100 cherry tomatoes 1 or early birds and 1lemon boy all of those ones are doing well. They are producing and soon will be ripening. The other three I'm having a few problems. 2r Brandywine I think and they have potato leaf. Their bout 5 feet tall and have dark green leafs. but they are not having any flowers or fruit growing they were planted at the same time as the other three that are doing great. Just trying to figure out why I'm not getting flowers and tomatoes from these plants are they late bloomers or what am I doing something wrong ?

Typically, grape or cherry

By Almanac Staff

Typically, grape or cherry tomatoes appear and ripen sooner in season that large, traditional tomatoes.
Some sources suggest that while Brandywine has great taste, it lacks disease resistance (it's an heirloom) and is not consistent or reliable in its produce (the quality, amount, even color). You do not indicate where you are, but this one also ripens late, so that might be part of the matter. You could consult a local agricultural extension service or even a nursery for local advice.

My tomatoes are starting to

By Duane Wilson

My tomatoes are starting to "crack?" Also, the leaves on my tomato plants are turning brown and drying up? Finally, it's almost 100 degrees everyday here in Oklahoma. I've been watering everyday. My production is excellent. Comments on the above? Thank you.

Duane Wilson
Oklahoma City

When temperatures are above

By Almanac Staff

When temperatures are above 90 degrees F, tomatoes may crack. This can also occur when rain follows a dry period and there is inconsistent moisture. It's important that tomatoes get even watering on a consistent schedule, and that you water in the mornings. Try to cool the crops by planting with 2 to 4 inches of mulch--and also cool the soil with overhead irrigation. Also give your tomatoes some relief with afternoon shade; consider a shade cloth that lets in some light.

Is there a tomato variety

By Robininfresno

Is there a tomato variety that is productive in the hot fresno Calif summer temps? I also heard I should cut back the tomato during the hottest part of the summer and it will bush out again and bear fruit when the temps cool in the fall. Is this true?

my tomatoes are not growing

By Marlo Huchinson

my tomatoes are not growing and are in the perfect condition. i dont know what is happening please help

Yes, there are tomato

By Almanac Staff

Yes, there are tomato varieties that grow well in Fresno. See this chart and consult your extension services for local info:

hi!I live on the coast in

By wicked pixie

hi!I live on the coast in northern California, so our summer is just warming up now through September. I'm growing sweet 100 cherry tomatoes & they didn't get enough sunshine till now & are really tall & sparse & leggy. replanted in full sun, will they recover & bear many yummy little tomatoes?

Use tomato cages or put up

By Almanac Staff

Use tomato cages or put up some stakes and string to support the plants if they are weak. Let the side shoots grow and you should be able to harvest some tomatoes this summer.

My husband grows tomatoes

By Connie Griffin

My husband grows tomatoes every year and we have yet to find the right combination to yield healthy red delicious fruit. This year they are taking quite some time to ripen, they are splotchy with white spots inside, and some are splitting.
This year he planted them in full sun, he watered everyday (because of lack of rain) until they started ripening.
Do we need something in the soil that we lack? Any help would be appreciated.
Thank you,

Tomatoes split because of

By Almanac Staff

Tomatoes split because of uneven watering. You should water the plants regularly every two to three days. Water deeply and at ground level (don't use a sprinkler). Put some mulch around the plants to keep the soil moist.
Uneven ripening causes white spots inside the fruit. Regular watering will help and use high potassium fertilizer when fruits are the size of a golf ball.

We have some beautiful tomato

By Joe Edwards

We have some beautiful tomato plants, several varieties, The plants are huge and very healthy looking, but there are no tomatoes on them. what can be the problem? WE planted them May 2nd.

The main reason that tomato

By Almanac Staff

The main reason that tomato plants do not set fruit yet get lots of foliage is because they are not planted where they can receive 8-10 hours of direct sunlight daily. There are some areas (such as our region in NH!) which simply lack the amount of direct sunlight. Also, it needs to be above 50 degrees during the day and not get above 70 degrees at night. Other common reasons for lack of fruit set include: too much nitrogen fertilizer, irregular watering, and insects such as thrips.

my tomato plants look great,

By mglynn

my tomato plants look great, has fruit. but the shade leaves are over powering the cage, can i prune off some of the leaves to allow sun and air to circulate? thanks

Wirecage tomatoes do develop

By Almanac Staff

Wirecage tomatoes do develop a heavy foliage cover, but this is to reduce sunscald on fruits. However, it helps to space the plants somewhat further apart (3 feet) to allow good air circulation between plants. We would not prune the leaves, but would limit the suckers (new shoots) weekly. Pinch shoots off with your fingers.

Question: Okay, I'm reading

By Camille c.

Question: Okay, I'm reading up on my tomatoes (Sweet 100 Cherry & Brandywine). Considering they're in containers, I'm pruning to keep them from going wild. My question is this: If I pinch off suckers, and pinch the plant off at the top of the vine once it reaches the top of it's cage (which it's already done), then where will new growth come from? It feels like a silly question, but it's the one I can't find an answer to anywhere...

Lots of people, even experts,

By Almanac Staff

Lots of people, even experts, have lots pf opinions about pinching tomato plants. Some do it, some don't. Most suggest that pinching off tomato suckers strengthen the main stem and enable the plant's energy to go into producing flowers and then fruit.

I nave a lot of blossoms,but

By sharon woodruff

I nave a lot of blossoms,but few fruit. Used blossom set spray to help. Don't have bees to help. Plants are huge! Help!

Well sounds like you hit it

By Georgie B

Well sounds like you hit it on the head no bees to pollinate but the male&female parts are in the same flower either shake the plants or take an eletric tooth brush and gently hold it againt the side of the blossoms and they alot of them will get pollinated

Pollination is key, yes, but

By Almanac Staff

Pollination is key, yes, but there are lots of reasons that fruit may fail to set, including cool spring nights (it's not summer yet), daytime temps over 90°F, rain, low humidity and high humidity, low light intensity—even smog, according to one source (this might affect light intensity). Try shaking or vibrating the plant in midday, when temps are warm and humidity is low.

tomato bush

By Anonymous

i planted a beefsteak plant in a planter since I live in AZ and its always too hot for tomatoes. I can move it from sun to shade to keep it from overheating. The plant has grown like a crazy bush and has 4 small tomatoes. It still has lots of blossoms but some are falling off. I did fertilize it last week and it looks good. I have a few yellow/brownish leaves near the bottom. My mom says I need to pick out the center branches to help the plant but I don't know where or if that's true. I'm afraid that if this plant gets too wild the tomatoes will be small and fall off before they ripen.

Blossom drop can be caused by

By Almanac Staff

Blossom drop can be caused by too low or too high temperatures. Fertilize your plant right before harvest. Fertilizing too much early will encourage leaf growth and no flowers. You can remove some suckers (side shoots) from the plant to help air circulation and sunlight to reach the inside of the plant.

How to tell

By Anonymous

Are store tomato plants GMO plants? Is there a way to tell?

If you look on the sticker

By Erica O.

If you look on the sticker and the 5 digit number starts with an 8, that fruit or vegetable is a GMO crop.

my tomato again

By Anonymous

some of the stems on my plant are starting to break, and inside its moldy what is happening and what can I do?

Sounds as if you have

By Almanac Staff

Sounds as if you have "damping off" due to infected potting mix or too much water or keeping the soil too wet. We are not clear how young the tomatoes are. Seedlings? If so, start over with new seed-starting mix and sterilized containers. Make sure you have drainage. Do not let the seedlings sit in water.


By Anonymous

my tomato bush is starting get covered in white, fuzzy, mold. I don't know how to control it! The plant isn't even wet!

1 gallon of water 1 tablspoon

By Georgie B

1 gallon of water 1 tablspoon of bakesoda 1 Tbsp of veggy oil to make it stck throughly spray entire plant and groung surface then alternate every 3 days with 1 to 9 ratio non fat milk/water spray solution can mix powdered garlic and purreed and strain fresh garlic in it alternate your sprays so Powdery mildew does not built up a resistance and make sure you do in the morning evening spraying is bad and will incourage new mildew growth due to damp enviorment that stays damp all night due to no heat from the sun

Our guess is that you have

By Almanac Staff

Our guess is that you have powdery mildew on your plants. Wash the leave with water and then spray with Neem oil. You can find neem oil in most garden centers. Follow the directions on the bottle.

Something on my tomato

By Anonymous

I bought my seedling at a little Japanese market last November. It started to grow very fast and is now very big. But I started to notice white, gray, and brown squiggly lines on a lot of the leaves. I am worried about my plant. When it was really bad, these egg looking things would come out of the end of the lines. Also, my plant is in a pot on the west side of my house and it doesn't get direct sunlight until about 1:00 P.M. Is that enough light? Last thing, I live on Okinawa. (The Japanese island) I have heard you talking about different hardiness zones and how some plants at different locations need more water or sunlight. What should I do?

It sounds like you have a

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like you have a problem with leaf miners. The larvae will tunnel through the leaves and stunt the growth of your plant. Leaf miners are difficult to control without using insecticides. The adult leaf miner flies can be attracted by yellow cards coated with a sticky layer of petroleum jelly. Keep your plants healthy and well watered and they may recover from the infestation. Tomato plants need a lot of sun. If possible move your container to a location where it will get more morning sun.

Leaf miners

By Anonymous

They are attracted by yellow cards? What does that mean? Did you mean they can be repelled by yellow cards?

Yes, they are yellow sticky

By Almanac Staff

Yes, they are yellow sticky cards. Most insects are attracted to the color yellow. Find the cards at your local garden center or on the Internet.

yellow sticky cards

By Anonymous

great for unwanted pests but bad for well needed bees to polinate our crops, use a natural pesticide like diamosis earth (spell check is broke ) :)


By Anonymous

i love growing tomato plants every since i can remember my father growing them i have been hooked...there really easily to grow long as u provide them with enough sun in the day mostly i like mine getting the morning sun and the after noon shade where its the hardest on them...i give mine water once every 3 days to keep the soil around them moist unless we have had rain then i wont..i love canning tomato's and tomoato juice which is the best for homemade chilli..for bugs i use hot sauce and some salt mixed up to keep them off seems to work just dont spray it on them in the heat of the day wait till its almost sundown and for the breaking stem deals..after mine start getting any taller then 6-8 inches they are staked u with anythting i can find rather it be fishing pol rods that are broke or decent sticks under the trees then as they grow i tie them up in sections..hope this helps ya out but this is my method everyone has some different good luck..ookie ky

Broken Beefstake tomatoe vine

By Anonymous

First time grower and I'm excited on how they are growing but they are getting heavy even though we have them staked. Unfortunately while I was tying them up I heard one vine crack. It does have many tomatoes on it that are not grown yet. Please advise. I also find it unusual that out of approx 20 tomatoes on this plant ONLY one ripened. All others are small and green. What can I do to ripen the rest of them? Thank you so much

Well asfar as the cracked

By Georgie B

Well asfar as the cracked stem be careful and wrap with plastic wrap matching the crack like a puzzel carefully then put a popsickle type split on each side of the crack on the stem and tape them to it then carefully tie it to the stake avove anf below the crack I di it all the time when I make that mistake&it works for me every time!Asfar as other fruit not ripening give it a shot of disolved 1 tablespoon of epsom salt in 1 gallon of water with unsulfured molasses 1-2 tbsp,and hopefully you have some liquid htdrolated fish or something similar add 1-3 tbsns of that,and add 3 tbsps of powdered dry milk mix all together and hopefully that will help with you healthy ripening process I did the same thing this tear and it is working for me but please remember they are fussy and need sun for the warmth for good ripe to take place about 60-75 degrees also you might have to trim a few excess leaves off the plant so the warth of the sun can reach and ripen the tomatos right now if I am not mitaken the middle # phosphorous aids in fruit development and the ripening process of the fruit and its ability to form healthy seeds within to reproduce so you can safe healthy seeds from your heirloom or open pollinated tomato plants hope this helps

Usually, the ripening of

By Almanac Staff

Usually, the ripening of tomatoes is is related to heat units. Tomatoes need lots of heat to ripen. Vines usually crack due to lack of support. Whether you cage or stake them is personal preference. If you support tomatoes off the ground, they will also produce fruit. If you have tomatoes from that broken vine that are green, pick them and place in a single layer on a counter (NOT in fridge) at room temperature until they turn red. When they are fully ripe, place them in the refrigerator several hours before eating.

Good vs. not so good tomatoes

By Anonymous

My husband and I are both growing tomatoes, he at our home in the garden, he has over a dozen plants. I have one in a bucket on the front porch of my office. His tomatoes are yellow splotchy, not prolific & not ripening. Mine are abundant, red & delicious. I used the same celebrity plants and I filled my bucket with soil from the same garden. I soak my plant everyday & I know he is slowing down on watering thinking this may improve yield. Any suggestions?

Good vs. not so good tomatoes

By Almanac Staff

Tomatoes need water regularly. Once the fruit begins to ripen you can cut back on watering to get more flavorful tomatoes, but don’t withhold water so much that the plants become stressed.
Does your husband's tomatoes get enough sun? Maybe his plants are growing too close together and shading each other. The soil in containers is usually warmer than soil in the garden and may also make a difference in how the tomatoes grow.

tall plants

By Anonymous

My husband planted tomatoes on the southern side of our house, they are over 8 ft tall and bottom leaves are spotting and dying. Tomatoes are ripening before they get great big. What is our problem?

Tall plants

By Almanac Staff

Not sure what type of tomatoes you have. Some varieties don't get very big. Here are a couple of suggestions. Remove the bottom leaves and add some bone meal to the soil around the plants. The south side of your house may be getting too much sun. Try shading the plants during the hottest hours of the day.

Yellowing leaves at base of plant.

By Anonymous

I have a few plants that started yellowing at the base a few weeks ago. Others have followed suit. They all have several tomatoes on them. I've added Osmocote, cotton seed meal, and a fertilizer blend. It doesn't seem to be helping too much. One plant has 16 tomatoes on it. Another, the leaves are now turning brown in various places. There is basil nearby, as well as marigolds. What is causing the yellowing?

Sorry to inform you but it

By Georgie B

Sorry to inform you but it sounds like early or late blight remove all the bottom branckes and leaves 12-18 inches above soil service be careful to disinfect siccors as you cut them off so you do not spread the blight and bag up and throw away the infected leaves!Blight exist in the soil and splashes on the plant when it rains mix cornmeal with the soil around the plant it feeds the friendly bacteria that try to suppress the blight and it sounds like you have fertilized enough and becarfule of useing to much cotton seed meal not only does it have alot of nitrogen that causes excess foliage growth but alot of nitrogen cause your plant and soil to become more suseptable to infetion of vaios types and hold back on your fertilizer now cause you have fruit on the plant also do not over water it cause the plant to yellow and grow to much foliage at the same time hope that helps for the blight alternate sprays every 3 days for awhile bakesoda and veggyoil,then 3 tbsps powdered milk 3 days later do this in the morning for a couple of weeks sounds like your plants are bad but still have a chance to be safed I had this happen to me applied the above and it worked but I also did a pureed garlic spray I put some of my garlis in blender and stained and sprayed and alternated all the 3 above and it worked I had a severe problem and the mircle happened it safed all 65-70 of my plants

Yellowing Tomato Plant

By Almanac Staff

Luckily, it doesn't sound like tomato blossom rot.

In this instance, it may just be pests. Try this spray: Stir together 1 quart of water, 1 tsp of liquid dish soap and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Do not dilute before spraying on plants. Useful against aphids and scale insects. Organic controls include alcohol spray (isopropyl alcohol, straight or diluted), soapy emulsion (can be mixed w/alcohol), horticultural oil (read the directions) and pyrethrum spray. Soapy water/alcohol should be reapplied every 2-3 days for 2 weeks.

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.

New stalk/branch growing from under soil

By Anonymous

I have a new branch or stalk growing off the main stemm from under the soil. I carefully dug down and it is coming off the original stalk. Should I allow it to keep growing or prune it? I am concerned it may take nutrients away from main plant and it's fruit. It looks like another branch that started beneath the soil. Any suggestions?

A tomato plant with 2 stems

By Almanac Staff

A tomato plant with 2 stems is unusual. We suggest removing the smaller stem close to the soil. It is also a good idea to remove lower branches. Rain and wind can cause them to touch the soil where they come in contact with soil born pathogens and fungi.


By Anonymous

First time growing tomatoes. I have a Better Boy in one container and Cherokee Purple in another on the deck. The Better Boy is already about 4 feet long/tall and full of green tomatoes. The Cherokee Purple is just as huge and full of green tomatoes. I pruned small suckers but apparently not as much as could have been done, although I've been doing it every few days. Is it possible to prune more heavily at this stage of growth? At this rate they will take over the whole deck before July! Can't find any info on pruning except in relation to suckers. So, thanks for any advice!

We envy your success with

By Almanac Staff

We envy your success with these tomato plants! You are clearly doing a lot of things correctly.
Both Better Boy and Cherokee Purple are indeterminate tomatoes, and both produce an abundant harvest. They may very well take over your deck. Enjoy the bounty! By the way, in a survey for the 2005 Almanac, readers described Better Boy as “God’s perfect fruit, [with] great taste.”
First, if you have not already done this, make sure that the plants are staked or otherwise supported. (This should have been done when the first flower appears.)
It would be desirable to have only one main stem below the first fruit cluster. Avoid too many stems above the first fruit cluster; aim for no more than four. Fewer stems mean larger fruit. (How do you avoid too many stems? Prune them.)
Continue to prune the suckers, especially those below the first fruit, but get as many as you can and do this by hand, not with a knife or other tool. If at all possible, do not prune suckers when the leaves are wet to avoid any risk of disease to the plant.
If the suckers get out of hand and become especially large and leafy, consider removing only the leaf cluster at the top of the sucker. This is less of a shock to the plant.
About a month before the end of the season (but who is thinking about that in June?), do a ruthless pruning, or “topping,” of all of the growing tips so that the remaining fruit can mature properly.
We hope this helps. If you are looking for ways to use your harvest, we have more than 400 recipes for tomatoes at

But I'm worried...

By Anonymous

I've begun to notice quite a bit of blossom end rot on smaller tomatoes on both plants. I really don't think it's calcium deficiency because I added it to both soils early on. Excessive heat or rapid growth? I've never grown Cherokee Purple before but a lot of the green tomatoes are "white-ish" green?! Is this normal? Unfortunately, I did not stake them because I planted them in containers with a string/net trellis attached not realizing how massive and heavy these plants would be. Is it too late to rig something up? Thank You SOOO much!

But I'm worried

By Anonymous

The only time I experienced blossom rot was when I bought my plants from a local green house. I planted them like I did every year in a pot with miracle grow soil.Had 4 plants and NO tomatoes without rot. Everyone I talked to that year had the same thing happen to them.I still believe that it was a disease that had spread through the plant distributor.Another reason to grow from heirloom seed of your own stock.

We addressed this and other

By Almanac Staff

We addressed this and other common tomato problems in a recent issue of the All-Seasons Garden Guide. Here’s the suggestion:
--Blossom End Rot is often caused by fluctuating soil moisture, such as a dry period followed by lots of rain, and is evidence of calcium deficiency in the fruit. Too much nitrogen, high salt levels in the soil, or root damage can also contribute.
--Symptoms: A dark or water-soaked area on the first few fruits’ blossom end (opposite the stem) that eventually enlarges, turns brown or black, and becomes sunken and flat; leathery skin on fruit. Note: Fruit does not rot unless secondary organisms invade. Tomatoes grow slowly and may ripen prematurely.
--To avoid: Prepare deep, well-drained soil. In low-calcium soil, apply lime. Avoid severe hardening off. Plant in warm soil. Water uniformly and regularly; provide mulch. Cultivate shallowly. Avoid overfertilizing; use nitrogen forms that do not contain ammonia, which inhibits calcium uptake.
--To control: Remove affected fruit.
--As for staking later in the growth cycle—sure. Just try to avoid piercing the plant’s roots. Put the stakes (or whatever) at the edge of the pot. Or, if available, tie the branches of the plant to something nearby, such as the railing of a deck.
--Regarding the whitish color, It’s hard to tell at this distance, but it may not be a problem. Perhaps there is the long-shot possibility that the you have a white tomato variety....that the plant tag was inadvertently changed before you bought it.

Good luck! And remember that every growing season is an experiment...


By Anonymous

I live in N.Texas, and I am a 1st timer, and my plants are nice and green, with a few tomatoes, my tomatoes are about a size of a small orange, they started to turn red however.. when I went to pick them they were mushy... Even some that were still green... What do I need to do..

Yellow leaves

By Anonymous

I have had great success in the past with my tomatoes, but this year my leaves from the bottom are turning yellow and wilting. I prune and then the next set of leaves starts to turn yellow. i water daily and fertilize every 2 weeks. I use a tomato and pepper set to help the fruit set. What am I not doing?

Tomato problems

By Almanac Staff

Although several conditions may cause yellowing and wilting, the tomatoes may possibly have a type of wilt, perhaps fusarium or verticillium wilt. Symptoms begin as yellowing and wilting of lower leaves (verticillium often shows up as wedge-shaped yellow spots on the leaves). Plants can be stunted or not recover from wilting after being watered. To check for verticillium or fusarium wilt, cut a troubled stem by the base and look for brown discoloration inside the stem.
Fusarium may affect just a few shoots in the beginning. It only attacks tomato plants, reduces vigor and yield, often killing the plant.
Verticillium may affect whole plants and can travel to other types of plants. It may not kill tomato plants but will reduce vigor and yield.
It’s best to destroy the plants (do not add to compost pile). In future, plant resistant cultivars. Sanitize tools.
Rotate crops—avoiding any in the tomato/potato family in the same spot for the next few years. One can try soil solarization to try to get rid of the disease in the soil. Hope this helps.
For more info and photos, see:


By Anonymous

i ate a fresh tomatoes after i got it off the vine yes i did wash it off and i sliced it and put it on a sandwich and ever since i did this i have been sick what could have caused this

Fresh garden tomatoes do NOT

By Almanac Staff

Fresh garden tomatoes do NOT naturally contain bacteria that can make you sick. Possibilities: Contact with raw food on cutting board, bacteria on your hands or in your sink, contaminated water or soil, improperly composted manure, etc. If you are still sick, please see a heath professional and take care!

I dont use fertilizer..

By Anonymous

I couldnt help but notice how many people use fertilizer and are having trouble with their plants. I am using potting soil with a small amount of fertilizer in it (couldnt find any without), but I DO NOT use any extra. I have about 30 plants all ranging in height, but all very healthy. I might make compost tea, but really I find that fert is unnecessary. You're growing your own tomatoes so you dont have to buy the ones grown with pesticides at the store, right?

Too small for fruit?

By Anonymous

I have several Celebrity plants growing...They are between 12"-24" tall. The 12" and a 16" already have Tomatos beginning to grow...(and yes I did mean 12 & 16 inches tall)Should I allow the fruit to mature or will it hurt the overall growth of the plant, since they are so small?

celebrity tomatoes

By Almanac Staff

Celebrity tomato plants can get very tall (5 to 6 feet) and will get lots of tomatoes. Just make sure all the weight is supported with stakes/wire mesh or cages, preferably strong caging if budget allows.


By Anonymous

Hi, I thought of growing tomatoes in my small patio. This is my first trial. Can anyone help me like what all things i need to buy? like manure, fertilizer, seed, how to start with? how much to buy? And i need to grow in the cheapest way because as it is my first trial, i dont want to waste money if it fails. Guide me in detail. Thanks.

Growing container tomatoes on a patio

By Almanac Staff

If you're growing tomatoes on a patio, it sounds as if you'd grow them in pots? You can certainly grow tomatoes in containers. Plant one tomato per container and make sure the container has holes in the bottom. Cherry tomatoes are great in containers and here are a few other smaller varieties to try: Early Girl, Patio, Small Fry, Sweet 100, Tiny Tim. Ask your garden center to advise on size of pots. Most tomatoes use large containers (18-gallon). Use potting soil (such as Miracle Grow), 1 cup of Osmocote slow release 13-13-13 and 1/4 cup of lime. Every 12 days, feed with a high phosphorous fertilizer. You can also add some mulch on top to retain moisture. Make sure your tomatoes are in a location where they will get 6 hours of sunshine daily. Water after planting and then consistently. When to water? If the soil is dry on the top, but you can feel moisture further down, you probably don't need to water them yet. If it feels dry all the way through, water them until the water leaks through the holes. You'll need to stake the tomatoes for support. You can find more detail about tomato plant care and harvesting on this page. Good luck!

City Girl fails at tomatoes

By Darka Dusty

My great tomato experiment of 2011 has my husband & me totally confounded.

I've been bugging my friend with ridiculously elementary questions... requiring her garden 'tech-support' so I don't really want to annoy her any longer. Maybe one of you can help?

This was the first year we planted anything at all - three tomato plants. We had expert supervision when planting and followed all the advice we got.

Recently someone told us to stop watering tomatoes at a certain time... which we did. Two days later, all the vines have all drooped. Garden Tech Support Friend said that's normal. Cool.

I went outside just to see the extent of the 'droopage' and I noticed on one of the tomato plants that finally, after weeks of care, we had actual red tomatoes!

I was so happy to see them, I picked all five or six of them, like a proud parent - and went to show my husband: We tried them - but they were mealy and mushy and not that sweet.

So then I went to the other two plants, and indeed, down below and way in the back there more red ones.

But the odd thing is, each of the three plants produced the exact same result. Smallish mealy mushy fruit, and the color was not the right red, more of a red/dark pink. They're all exactly the same - just a bit bigger than cherry tomatoes.

We did everything right! Or maybe not!? Did we over water them? And if that's the case, now that we've stopped over watering them, will the future little green ones have any chance of being nice tomatoes? Or have we ruined all subsequent tomatoes too?

The internet has lots of theories, but most of them say the reason is leaving them on the vine too long - which I know isn't the case with these.

Now today I just heard that "Heritage" Tomatoes are having a bad year. Is that possible?

I feel like apologizing to the plants and promising never to try to grow anything again. I'm a former New Yorker. Nature is the potted plant on your fire escape.


Don’t get discouraged. All

By Almanac Staff

Don’t get discouraged. All beginner gardeners have learning hurdles and even experienced gardeners never stop learning! We’re not sure where you live—and we wonder if it’s in a warm place. Here are a few common reasons for soft tomatoes:

1. If tomatoes are soft, usually it’s just overripe and you want to harvest sooner.

2. Or, if the temps have gone over 90 degrees and you let them fully ripen on the plant, they can become mushy.

3. Did you overfeed the tomatoes?  This is most likely is a nutrient imbalance, most likely too much nitrogen. Too much fertilizer with nitrogen or not enough potassium can be an issue.  If you buy a fertilizer, be sure to apply a 1:3 nitrogen-to-potassium liquid fertilizer.

We’re not sure why the tomatoes are smaller than you expected. Is it a ripening issue? Temps above 85*F and under 55*F will affect the ripening of tomatoes. If the temp is too low, the tomatoes can freeze overnight, causing them to become mushy as they thaw the next day (this is a sign of decay and means they are not safe to eat).

Did you get enough sun?  Tomatoes need a LOT of sun: 6 to 8 hours a day. Or, if it’s just size, that could be due to lack of moisture. You could also help growth by removing the small tomatoes and the stems and leaves that are offshoots to help channel energy into the rest of the tomatoes.



My tomatoes are doing great but I noticed on some of the stems are turning the creases of the stems??? Is this normal?? Is it a disease or a deficiency? Please help... :)

if you don't see any insects,

By Almanac Staff

if you don't see any insects, then it is probably a phosphorus deficiency that is causing the purple tinged leaves. This problem can be fixed by amending your fertilizer accordingly. Good luck!

yellow leaves

By Mystic Lady Leah

I am planting my tomatoes in containers this year. They are looking great: healthy & blooming. But I am starting to see some very yellow leaves at the bottom of the plant. I always thought that was a sign of over watering, but I feel sure I am not doing that. Any ideas??

starting tomato seeds in an unheated greenhouse

By mscjw

Do I need to be putting fish emulsion on my plants? They are approximately 2 inches tall at this time, we didn't get the greenhouse up until Apri lst and I am thinking I am a little behind.

tomatoes in containers

By socrtrekr

Need help as soon as possible. I just planted my tomatoe seedlings (size ranges from 4 in to almost a foot tall) in black plastic one gallon containers with drip holes in the bottom. They were planted with new bags of garden soil and new bags of organic manure. Today I watered them with Miracle Gro. I live in Florida and have put metal cages in the containers. Will one gallon containers be big enough or will they need transplanting as they get bigger. They get morning sun and later afternoon shade. Last year we had problems with tomato hornworms and yellowing leaves and stems after the first set of blooms and tomatoes. Should I put sevin dust on them now? Or should I put a marigold plant in each of the containers? I have around 22 plants. Would coffee grounds be good to add to the soil for tomatoes and how often? Or are coffee grounds just for roses and how often for roses? What about putting banana peels in the containers with the plants? Would that be helpful?

Sprouts falling over

By fox621

I started my tomato plants a couple weeks ago from seed and most of them look great, but a few sprouts here and there are simply falling over. I don't know if this is because they are not getting enough water (though I water them at least twice daily), I'm using too much miracle-gro, or they're not getting enough sunlight which is making them too tall to hold themselves up. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


By Anonymous

Once a tomato seed has sprouted it doesn't need a lot of water. You are probably watering too much and this causes root rot. also they don't need a lot of fertalizer until about two weeks before you want to pick fruit. When seedlings get too tall they are reaching for light. Your light source should be 2 inches above tops of seedlings. Moving as they grow. Also a bit of a breeze on seedlings helps make their stems grow stronger. a small fan is useful. Good Luck, it's always trial and error.

Some things to try....

By Nanette Turner

There are a few things you can do to help your tomato plants.
-pinch them back
-water them more often
-take the plants and lay them on their sides for about 1/3 of the plant. This was in a local article by a master gardener. He claims that 'we' don't plant enough of our tomatoe plants in the ground. You can plant up to 1/2 of the plant into the ground to encourage better root growth. The same can be accomplished by planting the plant on its side and leaving the top 1/3 above the ground.
-increase the amount of sunlight. Lack of sunlight encourages leggy plants, so you'll have to pinch them back to encourage good bushy growth.
-also you should only be watering them in the mornings, watering them later in the day encourages rot and fungus as the plants don't have sufficient time to dry off before dark.

Keep us posted as to what you do and how the plants are doing. ~Nanette

Thank you very much Nanette!

By fox621

Thank you very much Nanette! I have one more question I'm hoping you can answer for me. How much should I water them each morning? As I said earlier I stared them from seed a couple weeks ago so they are no more than approximately 2 inches tall currently and I have them in individual cells in a seed tray.


By monkeygirl

my tall tomato plants are just starting to flower. but today i noticed the leaves are all wilty. what does that mean??

tomatoes & lack of fertilizer or water

By Nanette Turner

You're plants could be 'wilting' due to lack of water. Once the plants begin to flower it takes more energy to produce flowers and fruit. You'll need to fertilize now and increase the water you give. Tomatoes LOVE water, they are mostly water so you have to give water and fertilizer to get good tomatoes.

Also if they are really 'tall' they may be 'leggy' and need pinching back. Bushy is better than leggy in this case.
Good luck~Nanette

How often do you water? Are

By Walley75

How often do you water? Are there any bugs on or under the leaves? Has it been really hot in your area?

If they are getting enough water, there are no bugs and the weather has not been too hot, then look at how much fertilizer has been used. Has anyone been spraying weed killer in the area? I hope some of this helps.

I have never grown tomatoes before

By Carie Flowers

This year, i got one of those topsy turvy things and started a tomato plant, and this is my first shot at growing ANYthing. It started out about an inch tall. but now it is well over 2 feet. i water it everyday, with miracle gro in it. no tomatoes yet. i started it in late april, possibly early may. it has blossomed once or twice, but those blossoms just shrivelled away. some ideas would be fabulous!!

To Carie About Topsy Turvy

By Anonymous

Give up on the Topsy Turvy. I have never known anyone to actually get a tomato from it. I don't know if it's the seeds or if you noticed, the contraption is very flimsy. If you want to try this method due to space, I suggest purchasing a tomato plant that already has a good root system, or try your own starter (right side up. Use a gallon bucke and drill a ole in the bottom big enough for the base of the stem. You can also drill holes on the sides and put plants there. Hang by handle and fill with dirt. I also like to put small extra holes for drainage. You might find this much sturdier. I have even hung one and put one on the ground below it. As they grow, they merge and you can make some very interesting hybrid tomatoes.

my tomatoes plants are too tall what should i be doing next

By Anonymous

i have over 15 tomatoe plants no tomatoes on the vines yet i have a couple of flowers on the vine should i separate the plants?do i lay the plants on the soil or use wire cage to support the vine?

Topsy turvy planters

By Nanette Turner

Hi Last year I used topsy turvy to grow 2 tomatoes and a green pepper on my porch. It was an experiment. I wanted to see which did better, this or the garden.

Well, I have to say my topsy did best. I used a home-made recipe: 1/2 compost, 1/2 light soil mix and some fertilizer. I mixed it all together and then put it in my planters. My tomato plants were over 7 ft long and had mulitple 'vines' I kept pinching and got some tomatoes and pepper from each. Because they were hung on the porch, I had tomatoes and peppers until december until the frost came and eventually killed them off.

Stop fertilizing every time you water. Too much is NOT a good thing. If you mix in a good fertilizer when you pot up, you won't need any more for the growing season.

Good luck~Nanette


By jesuisyaya

keep in mind that if you are feeding your tomatoes miracle gro, then you will be feeding yourself that as well when you eat the tomato.
an excellent fertilizer for anything you grow: get a bag of dehydrated manure, or any form of bagged manure (it isn't gross and doesn't smell) - MOO DOO is a good brand. if you take a couple good handfuls, as big as you can scoop between two hands, put it in a five gallon bucket (for smaller containers, adjust the amount of manure), fill the bucket with water, let it sit for a day or however long to make "tea". use this tea for watering your plants and your plants and your body will be much happier.
you can keep refilling the bucket with water as you use it up without needing to add more manure until the tea looks really weak. then you can add the manure on the bottom of the bucket directly into the soil around your plants and start over.
one of the problems with chemical fertilizers, one of the many problems i should say, is that the plant becomes addicted and therefore dependent on them and can suffer from its use just as people suffer from chemical addictions.
sometimes the chemicals are too much for the plants and they may start out well, but don't do well if they have been fed nothing but that.
i would try switching to the manure tea. if you have ONLY been feeding it miracle gro every time you water, that is definitely too may have to wean it off miracle gro rather than going cold turkey, and introduce the tea into it regularly to help balance out the tomatoes' withdrawals.


By Anonymous

Keep in mind that if you feed your tomatoes cow poop, then you will be feeding yourself that as well when you eat the tomato.

Manure tea

By Anonymous

I used this for watering my tomatoes and sweet banana peppers. I had a bumper crop that year. I was growing beefsteak tomatoes, sweet celebrity 100 cherry tomatoes, brandywine and patio. Could not give them away fast emough. Really works. I think it is better than miracle grow and is mush healthier for you.

Hi Carie, try cutting back on

By Almanac Staff

Hi Carie, try cutting back on the miracle gro. Your plants don't need it everyday. Too much nitrogen in your fertilizer could be causing lush foliage, but it won't do anything to help fruit set. Heat stress may also be the culprit here. If temps are sweltering, move plants inside for a couple of hours a day, and make sure it's getting plenty of (plain) water!




brown bottoms

By Nanette Turner

Just pull off the lower leaves. They are dying and that's okay. As a rule of thumb I don't keep any leaves that touch the ground. Keeping these brown leaves on the plant encourages disease.

Mocking birds eating my tomatoes

By Aunt Weezie

Does anyone have any good advice on how to deter birds from pecking into tomatoes? I was away for a few days, knew I had tomatoes ripening soon, but came home to a family of mocking birds making a feast out of my tomatoes! A classic novel title comes to mind on what I'd like to do. . .

Bird scare

By Nedra Innerarity

I tie plastic bags to the tomato stakes and wind flops them around. Great scare crow.

birds eating tomatos

By vickicotton1

We hang aluminum pie plates near the plants so that that can blow in the breeze, clang together etc.... keeps the birds at bay for us! Good luck!

Nutrients Tomatoes need that will help their growth

By suzieq

Tomatoes need calcuim and magneisum, there are two ways to get these. Lime ( I use the pulverized) will give them the calcium they need to help prevent the blossom end rot and other things. And Epsom Salt which can be used for two different things one magnesium and one for bug control. For Magnesium mix 1 TBSP per gallon of water per foot of plant height and either spray it on the plant, or place it in a container next to the plant to let it absorb into the ground to the roots. About every two weeks. The way I do it is take a milk jug cut off the bottom and push it in the gound upside down beside the plant, then put the solution in the jug and it will seep into the ground as it is needed. If you want to use it as a bug control. Use 2 TBSP per gal of water per foot height of plant and spray onto plant. This can be done every two weeks. If you want when you use the Epsom Salts as a food, you can also add some Miracle Grow in with it, which will also help

Stopping Height Of Plant

By boomer5565

Could anyone tell me how to top plant off,so that it will quit growing in height and not kill plant.

Tomato leaves rolling up

By Amy Watson 3

I have two plants with leaves that are rolling up. What causes leaf roll? They look healthy otherwise. When I planted, I added crushed egg shells, 2 aspirin, handful of bone meal, fish head and 4-6-4 fertilizer to the hole. I spray a mixture of worm casting tea and 1.5 aspirin for fertilizer, once a week. The other three plants look fine with no rolling. I did notice some of the larger leaves at the bottom of the plant are turning slightly yellow. Maybe they are stressed? Any help is greatly appreciated!

Leaf Roll

By Garden Gal

Leaf roll can be caused by many things. You state the plants are yellowing... it could be water is not reaching those plants or it could mean they have pests sucking on them or it could be disease. Have a look at the leaves and if no pests water them well and also take a look online for pictures of tomato diseases so you can remove them before they infect your other plants.

no Tomatoes

By Tammy Winkler

I have large tomatoes bushes but when the blossom comes on it drys up and dies with no tomatoe on the end What do I need to do?????

Tammy, I think we are in the

By Roberta

Tammy, I think we are in the same boat when it comes to raising tomatoes. I think I am going to take a chance on setting them out earlier next year, even before the last frost. We don't have much of a Spring here in the part of Texas I am in. Winter to Summer and that's about it. I heard and it's only hear-say, that if it stays above 72 degrees at night, the blossums would drop. I hope someone comes aboard and tells us what could be wrong with our Tomatoes.

Tomato Plants

By Roberta

My tomatoe plants are beautiful but all my blossums disappear before the fruit sets. I have been sprinking sevin-dust over plants, to ward off any insects. I live in Texas and it's hot here. Could that be the culprit? They get enough water.


By dwhiteboy_672002

I'm using Tomato & Peper Set on my tomato's and they are doing good, I've also heared that sugar water doe's well I don't know for sure.


By Edith Delome

I have had the best tomatoe plants yet this year. But they won't get real red I have to pick them early so they won't get rotten. I have some sort of little flying bugs on the tomatoe themselves when I go out to work in the garden. I live i southeast TX can u help with this problem

Hi Edith, it sounds like it

By Almanac Staff

Hi Edith, it sounds like it may be too hot in southeast Texas! Once tomatoes begin to turn pink, bring them indoors to finish ripening (it sounds like you've already been doing this). The plant cannot carry out its normal functions in excessive heat. The bugs you described sound like aphids. See tips here:

tomatoes cracking

By rcain

I live in Tucson. My Celebrity tomatoes are cracking. They are in raised beds and I water the same time every day with a drip hose. They get 4 hours of sun in the a.m. and 5 hours in the p.m. The rest of the day the sun screen shades them.
Any help I can get would be greatly appreciated.

Hi rcain, it sounds like you

By Almanac Staff

Hi rcain, it sounds like you are taking good care of your tomatoes, but here are a few more tips to try: Add 2-4 inches of mulch around your plants. This will help provide uniform moisture throughout. Also, make sure you aren't over pruning. While 'Celebrity' is semi- crack resistant, next year, go for varieties that are crack resistant such as 'Avalanche' or 'Show Me'.

Thanks for the information.

By rcain

Thanks for the information. I will try it and see if it works and change varieties next year. My Stupice tomatoes are working out just fine.

Tomato Plant Question

By Jim50665

My tomato plants have healthy green leaves and robust growth. However there are very few blossoms or tomatoes set. How do I best encourage tomato growth rather than foliage growth? Plants have been fertilized with liquid seaweed (foliage), a liquid fertilizer and compost tea.

Too much nitrogen

By Garden Gal

I would cut back on the nitrogen for a bit.
Nitrogen gives more leaves.

Hi Jim, Here are some tips to

By Almanac Staff

Hi Jim, Here are some tips to encourage tomatoes: Make sure you water adequately. The plant needs enough moisture to produce the fruit--which is mostly water itself! Make sure your plant is getting 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, but don't expose it to high temperatures for long periods. You may have over-fertilized with nitrogen. Nitrogen causes foliage growth, but does little to encourage fruit set. You can try pruning off a few of the leaves. Finally, make sure you have a variety that is adapted to your Zone. Good luck, Jim!

spotty tomatoes

By nighttrain50

im trying "hanging plants" for the first time. i used a good potting soil and it keeps drying out to fast. i re-water and the fruit has brown spots. where am i going WRONG on this

adding calcium

By Cindy Dufrene

I wonder if placing one Tum's tablet under each tomato would do the trick? They are calcium tablets.

adding calcium

By hkvaughn51

I have a book that says take eggs shells (cleaned)break up and put into soil around tomatoes. Another suggestion was to put eggshells in a water bottle or can and let set overnight and then use water on certain plants. I've tried the egg shells in the soil when planting. But not sure if helps yet; will see.

Soil acidity

By David Gray

My soil is pretty base (7.0 +), what is the most natural way to make it more acidic especially with tomatoes?

Natural Acidity

By Garden Gal

You can add leaf mulch or pine needles that have fallen from the trees.

Soil acidity...

By kmsgirl30

Espoma Organic Traditions Soil Acidifier
It is carried at Home Depot, Lowes, etc.

pH Tomatoes

By Ptoe

Simply stating "acidic" doesn't help the average gardener very much.
Tomatoes like a somewhat acidic soil: 6:2 - 6:8 w/6:5 probably the best, they do adapt though to some variance.

Tomatoes and eggs

By Nancy Capshaw

Iv'e heard if you put a raw egg in the hole before you plant tomatoes It will help them. Is this true? Thanks Nancy

Tomatoes and Eggs...

By kmsgirl30

Crushed up egg shells in the planting holes (approx. 2 tbls.) is good for blossom end rot, which is caused by lack of calcium.


By Garden Gal

One could add crushed Oyster shell (fed to chickens to help harden shells on eggs). But if your calcium is locked up in the soil due to an imbalance this won't help. You could try epsom salts to add magnesium first. There must be magnesium in the soil to help the plants take up calcium.

I'm not sure about the raw

By Almanac Staff

I'm not sure about the raw egg, but Thymey's right about the fish.
The Native American tribes thought it was a great idea to bury fish with their corn seeds; they thought it helped grow healthier plants. Fish is a great fertilizer, and it probably works for tomato plants, too.

re: tomatoes and eggs

By Thymey

I would think that it would be beneficial if your soil is in need of nitrates and calcium; like adding a whole fish under a three sister's plot?

adding calcium

By Cindy Dufrene

I wonder if adding a Tums tablet under each plant would help with the calcium? They break down easily and are basically all calcium.


By Kathy Keith

Any Calcium based antacid will work. I have had to resort to this method a couple of times. I also found out you have to re-apply in a couple of weeks. Had not heard of the egg shells untill today. Makes sense though. I will be using that idea this year.

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