What’s better than a juicy, tasty tomato right off the vine? Well, an organic one! For those of you with an edible garden, here are a few tips on how to make the most out of your tomato plants this year:

1. When planting tomatoes, work the soil well to encourage plants to send down a good root system.
2. For best flavor, allow tomatoes to develop on the plant to their full color before picking.
3. On determinate plants (i.e. plants that bear all fruit at the same time), let suckers grow. On indeterminates, decide how many “main” stems you want, and pinch off all suckers after you’ve got that number on each plant. For larger (but fewer) fruit, limit the number of stems.
4. Prevent blossom end rot by keeping the soil evenly moist—don’t water the leaves, just around the roots—and by adding a tablespoon of Epsom salts to the hole at planting time. Calcium will also help prevent this problem.
5. Tomatoes love plenty of sun. Plant in the sunniest location and they will produce faster and be more prolific.
6. Like most garden plants, tomatoes prefer rich, fast-draining soil that has been amended with plenty of organic compost or well-aged animal manure.
7. Keep out of the garden when the soil is wet to avoid compacting the soil.
8. As plants approach 3-feet tall, remove many of the leaves from the bottom 1-foot of the stem. These leaves receive very little sunlight and are often the first to develop fungal problems.
9. A layer of organic mulch (compost, leaves, grass clippings) will help deter weeds and keep moisture levels constant. Add mulches after soil has had a chance to warm up.
10. Weekly applications of compost tea may ward off many fungal diseases.

Check the Tomato Gardening Guru’s website for a complete list of tips and tricks.

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