Tips for a rich tomato harvest

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As with no other vegetables, the flavor of tomatoes is determined by their personal taste and intended use. Equally important is the resistance to the most important tomato diseases.

Healthy tomato variety

As fruity-sweet Naschtomaten are round or plum-shaped cherry tomatoes like 'Sweet Million' or 'Dasher'. 'Philovita' is one of the few varieties that can defy late blight and brown rot, and 'Orangino' delivers countless bright orange fruits with a pronounced aroma. Especially in the Italian kitchen are solid, low-juice and low-meat meat and bottle tomatoes such as 'Myrto', 'Timos', 'Agro' and 'Corianne' very popular. The rediscovered specialties also include old varieties such as the 'Andean squirrel' or the light yellow pineapple tomato.

Seamentütchen: The agony of choice

The agony of choice on the shelf with the seeds. Semenfest is basically the better decision

Seed: F1 or Seedfest?

Anyone who deals with the sowing of tomato plants, the designation "organic seeds" or "F1" on the semen packets are already often encountered. Behind it hides the way the seeds were produced - and that's a very important point for self-sufficient people. Organic seed is so-called seed-proof seed. The parent plants have traditionally been selected by selection for decades or even centuries. If you pick up the seeds from the harvested fruits and sow them again in the coming year, you will again obtain tomatoes with the same characteristics, provided the plants have not crossed with other varieties.

In contrast, F1 seed is obtained by seed breeders through a rather elaborate hybridization. The desired properties of the mother plants can be specifically recombined by crossing in the so-called F1 generation - the offspring. The seed obtained from the crossed parent species - the so-called F1 generation - is sold and is particularly powerful. The plants are, however, not Erbfest: If you collect their seeds and sowed again, the F2 generation differs in their properties very much from the F1 generation.
Organic gardeners are not the only ones who are critical of the widespread use of F1 seeds, as they end up as a lucrative business for seed producers because gardeners and farmers have to buy new seeds every year and can not replant themselves. It also means that more and more old, seed-resistant traditional varieties are lost, which is a major problem in many developing countries, for example. Although there is nothing wrong with using F1 seeds for your own needs, in many cases old seed-proof tomatoes are just as robust, tasty and productive. In addition, seed-resistant varieties are no longer available only from specialized suppliers - even classic garden retailers can buy organic tomato seeds such as the 'Ochsenherz' variety.

Tomato seedlings

Tomato 'Philovita'

The tomato 'Philovita' is highly tolerant of the herbaceous and brown rot (Phytophthora infestans) and therefore also ideal for cultivation in the field

Early seedlings of many varieties are now also available refined. Advantage: The plants, which are cultivated on a rapidly growing wild tomato, yield up to 60 percent more fruit and are particularly suitable for cultivation on the balcony, terrace or in the greenhouse. The only drawback: The fruits are prone to burst, so the plants are dependent on an even supply of water and nutrients.

Tomato seedlings of all common varieties can be bought spring in the garden center or ordered from the garden nurseries. Fancier varieties are usually offered only as seed. It is sown in small pots from the beginning of March and placed on a warm, sunny windowsill until it germinates with a foil cover.

Off to the vegetable patch

As tomatoes do not tolerate frost, you should wait outside until 20 May to plant them outside, because then the icy saints are over. In the unheated greenhouse, a previous planting appointment is of course no problem. If you want to harvest early without a greenhouse, you can plant the seedlings in the open air at the end of April and cover them with a foil hood at nightfall risk.
Important: Remove the cover in the morning and make sure that the hood has spacer rings and air holes. Avoid contact between leaves and foil, as this increases the risk of fungal infection.

Soil and location

Tomato seedling planting depth

Plant the tomato seedlings so deep that the top of the pot bale is covered with five centimeters of soil. So the plant forms additional roots

Give the tomatoes a sunny spot in nutrient-rich soil.Three to five liters of compost per square meter - spread after soil preparation - ensure the basic supply of nutrients and improve the humus content of the soil. Even if tomato plants are compatible with each other: Change the bed every year! If the plants are always in the same place, soil pests such as root rot and the causative agent of cork root disease can multiply.
Tomatoes are good neighbors for other plants. For example, carrots, radishes, spinach or cabbages thrive in their vicinity. It is believed that the smell of tomato leaves sells pests. Not recommended are potatoes, peas and fennel as Beet neighbors. In any case, keep a planting distance of 60 centimeters. When planting in double rows: 100 centimeters row spacing, in the row 40 to 50 centimeters. Raise the planting hole so deep that the root ball later lies about five centimeters below the ground. The plants then also form roots at the stem base and can absorb more water and nutrients.

tomato house

A tomato house protects the sensitive plants from rain

A roof over your head

The most dangerous tomato disease is the herb and brown rot (Phytophthora). It is caused by a fungus. Its spores are spread by the wind over long distances and quickly trigger an infection on the moist leaf surface. A high humidity and temperatures below 18 degrees Celsius favor the infestation. After the infection, the disease can hardly be stopped. At the slightest sign of brown rot, immediately remove the infected leaves. Most effective prevention: a roof over your head! If you do not have a greenhouse, you can also make do with a special tomato house. These are available in many sizes in the specialized trade.

With a bit of skill, you can even make your own house out of wooden slats and UV-resistant greenhouse film. Important: The open side must be facing away from the weather side, so it must not point west in our latitudes. Completely closed houses or special tomato hoods for outdoor use are not recommended as a permanent rain cover: under changing temperatures, condensation forms under the foil and infestation with fungal diseases is favored. For this reason, tomatoes in the greenhouse should be aired daily.

Maintain tomatoes properly

Tomatoes need a lot of nutrients. Fertilize the plants from the beginning of flowering every 14 days with a potassium-rich tomato fertilizer (retailers) or add some homemade nettle or Beinwelljauche into the irrigation water. When watering: Never wait until the soil is completely dried out. Not only the fruits of thin-skinned varieties like 'Yellow Pearshaped' or 'Berner Rose' burst easily. Above all, water the covered tomatoes regularly, and daily in hot periods. Best water in the early morning. As long as the earth is still cool, use tempered water.

Pour tomato plants in the root area

When watering tomatoes never wet the leaves as moist leaves favor fungal diseases

Bring it with the watering can or shower directly in the root area and never wet the foliage. Since this is hard to avoid with the lower leaves, you should remove them as soon as the plants are strong enough. By the way: A mulch layer of tomato leaves is ideal to keep pests away from other vegetables.

Support and prune tomato plants

spiral rod

The regrowing main drive is routed regularly in a clockwise direction through the spiral rod

With the exception of the bush tomatoes all tomatoes need a climbing aid. Practical and easy to clean are spiral rods made of stainless steel or aluminum. Disinfect the rods in the spring with a gas burner or with high-percentage alcohol (methylated spirits) to kill harmful fungus spores from the previous year. It is best to stick the sticks into the soil right at the plant and turn the main shoots constantly through the windings to fix them.
An important care measure is the so-called vomiting: This is the regular breaking out of side shoots, which arise in the leaf axils. If you just let them grow, the vigorous plants will form an impenetrable thicket over time. In addition, the fruits remain smaller and do not age as well.

Video: Harvest in the vegetable garden

Harvest in the vegetable garden

From late summer to autumn harvest time is here and all farm gardeners are now reaping the rewards of their hard work. MY wishes a successful and delicious harvest!

Video Board: Burpee’s 'Madame Marmande' Tomato.

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