Published on 09/18/01

How Did Your Garden Tomatoes Grow?

How was your tomato crop this year? Was it good, bad or awful? Fall is a good time to evaluate your effort.

Did you grow one of the standards or try anything new? Were you happy with the cultivar grown? If not, remember that next year and try a different one.

Did you have the right fertility program? Did you have white, hard spots in your tomatoes? Were the fruits small, or did they fall off in the bloom stage? All of these problems are a results of your fertility program.

Soil Test

Remember, the soil test is one of the most important parts of tomato growing. You need to test a soil sample in November or early December.

Did you have blossom-end rot? If you did, the calcium level from the soil test is critical. This problem results from inadequate calcium levels, along with water fluctuations.

Speaking of water, fall is a good time, too, to get that drip irrigation you were going to put in the garden for next spring. Drip is the ecological way to save water. It will reduce the chances of some diseases, too, by keeping the foliage dry.

Clean Cages

And before you put up those tomato cages, spray them with a 15-percent bleach solution. That will prevent carrying over this year's diseases.

Finally, remember where you planted tomatoes this year. Next year, change places. That, too, will reduce chances for disease and insect buildup.

To get a soil test kit, see your nearest county office of the University of Georgia Extension Service.

Wayne McLaurin is a professor emeritus of horticulture with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.