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Row by Row Episode 40: The Best Tips for Growing Tomatoes

Row by Row Episode 40: The Best Tips for Growing Tomatoes

Tips and Tricks for Tomato Growing

On this week’s episode, the guys talk about growing tomatoes in the vegetable garden. They mention that tomatoes are one of the most popular crops in vegetable gardens across the world, but that they can also be one of the most challenging to grow. They like to plan they're planting just right so the tomatoes start in the seed starting trays and then go directly into the garden. They first discuss the different varieties that are available, including heirloom and hybrid variations. Heirlooms, while beautiful and delicious, can be highly susceptible to diseases. Meanwhile, the hybrids provide a more consistent appearance and are resistant to troublesome diseases like tomato spotted wilt virus. They suggest growing tomatoes like Bella Rosa, Mountain Glory and Brickyard for disease-resistance and improved yields. They explain why growing your own plants is a much better option than purchasing them at a store. They also explain that the size of the transplant has nothing to do with how well the plant will do once planted in the ground. They discuss trellising techniques including cages and using twine to do the Florida Weave. Some of the tomato varieties can get huge so having a trellis technique will help the crops stay off the ground. Travis suggests using cages for indeterminate varieties and the Florida Weave for determinate varieties. We have several videos on the Florida Weave Trellis on our YouTube channel. Finally, they explain the importance of adequate calcium when growing tomatoes. Supplementing calcium by adding Pelletized Gypsum will help to prevent blossom end rot, which is caused by a calcium deficiency. Travis likes to add the gypsum when he plants them in the ground, but Greg likes to do it a week or two before the first bloom set.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment, Travis has some Butter Crunch Lettuce that has a nice large head on them and says that they have great field holding ability in the cooler months. He also talks a little bit about the new hybrid variety, Harmony Butterhead Lettuce which has excellent production and is a pelleted seed. Greg has a Watermelon Radish that he grew in the vegetable garden. The guys cut into the radish to taste test and observe the bright pink to purple coloration on the inside of the radish root. Travis mentions that watermelon radish, also called red meat radish, tends to be less spicy than traditional radishes. They also take longer to grow but are less susceptible to splitting as they get larger. The weather is starting to warm up a little bit and the cover crops are paying off. Travis also shows a sneak peek of the final prototype of our new Hoss Stirrup Hoe.

Viewer Questions Segment

On the question and answer segment, the guys answer questions about lunar planting and the difference between ammonium nitrate and Chilean Nitrate. Travis explains that the concept of lunar planting is a myth or "old wives' tale," and that potatoes will grow regardless of the moon phase. He suggests planting potatoes as soon as your climate or soil conditions will allow, and not wait on the moon for planting. Greg explains that Chilean Nitrate is an organic product that is naturally mined in Chile, while ammonium nitrate is a chemically produced fertilizer. While they have a very similar action in the soil, one is naturally-derived and the other isn't. Ammonium nitrate is a lot more powerful so they are apt to burn more than the Chilean nitrate in the garden.

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