How to Grow Tomatoes
Tomatoes are one of the most sought-after vegetables, from growing them to cooking with them, they are in high demand. There is a wonderful selection of tomato varieties available in our store from heirloom, hybrid and grafted varieties. There are no GMO tomatoes sold in the garden centre.
No matter the variety you choose, keep in mind that some tomatoes have been bred to resist certain varieties and fungal diseases. You can find this information on the packaging. V F N T will indicate that the variety is tolerant to V- Verticilium Wilt F- Fusarium Wilt, N – Nematodes and T – Tobacco Mosaic Virus.
When you go to plant your tomatoes keep in mind some key points. Tomatoes require full sun, at least 6 to 8 hours worth of hot sun per day. Select a sunny location where water does not stand in puddles after a heavy rain. It is also important to consider what was planted in the area last year, if tomatoes or their relatives (potatoes, peppers, eggplants, petunias etc.) were grown there last season it is best to find a new space this season. Crop rotation will always help prevent diseases. Consider the spacing of your tomato plants. If you plan to use trellises or stakes space your plants 40cm apart, if you are not using support allow for 1- 1.25m between each plant. Tomatoes are one of the few plants that can be planted deeper up the stem which is a good idea as it strengthens the plant.
Water and Fertilizer
It is important to keep plants regularly watered all season, especially in the hot and dry Kamloops region. Use either a soft spray or a drip system so that you keep the foliage dry. Mulching with lawn clippings or something similar tends to keep the moisture and soil temperature from fluctuating which in turn tends to reduce the incidence of blossom end rot. It’s a very good idea to use a specific tomato fertilizer that has some form of available calcium in it as this will also help prevent blossom end rot. Once you have some growth you can fertilize with Art Knapp Liquid Tomato Food. Don’t use a high Nitrogen fertilizer or you will have an exceptionally large green plant with little fruit. Nitrogen is represented by the first number on the package, so ensure it is small in comparison to the middle number. There are two types of tomatoes, determinate and indeterminate. Determinate tend to be bush varieties and stop growing once they set fruit on the top bud. Indeterminate tomatoes will grow and produce fruit until killed by the frost so the plant tends to be quite large.
Which Tomatoes Should You Grow?
Then you have to choose whether you want to grow beefsteak, slicing or cherry types. Augie, our tomato expert, is a lover of all tomatoes but he did recommend 3 varieties that are some of his favourites, the beefsteak, better boy and super fantastic. He also noted that for those of us that can’t handle high acidity foods, try the yellow varieties as they are not as acidic. We are thrilled to be growing a new variety called Rapunzel this year. It has unique, long cascading trusses that hold up to 40 very sweet bright red cherry fruits on each truss. If you like trying new varieties Rapunzel has to be on your list.
The best-tasting tomatoes are the ones that are allowed to ripen on the vine. When ripe, gently lift the fruit from the vine being careful not to bruise it and trying to leave the stem on the tomato. We are very proud of our selection of tomato plants here at Art Knapp Kamloops and with between 40 and 50 varieties we like to think that we have the best selection in the city so please come by and have a browse. We will help you select the best one for your needs. If you are a beginner we would love to help get you set up. Keep in mind, tomatoes don’t need to be planted in the ground, they work really well in containers if you are wanting the fresh fruit but are tight on space. There are a lot of options when it comes to tomatoes!