Gardening: Best tasting tomatoes are the ones you grow yourself

Tomatoes are one of the most common bedding out plants purchased. Why? The taste of a fresh tomato is superior to any that are purchased in stores.

While there are many different varieties of tomato plant for sale they can be divided into two groups: determinate and indeterminate. Determinate plants usually require a shorter season and may or mayn’t need staked. Indeterminate tomato plants continue to grow upwards until they die. In heated greenhouses or warmer climates the same plant will continue to produce fruit for a number of years.

Growers have made it easy to purchase and grow tomatoes plants by selling tomato plants in pots large enough to last the growing season. Often called patio tomatoes, these plants should be placed in a hot area of the garden where they will have optimum growth. Patio tomatoes should be a determinate variety. Prune back all suckers that grow from the roots and the first couple of axils after which allow the suckers or stems that are growing from leaf axils to flourish. Flower buds and ultimately fruit are born on the end of the branches. Fewer branches mean less fruit.

Determinate varieties, in pots, with the exception of tumblers, are often supported by a cage that supports the weight of the branches and fruit. In the garden where there is more room, branches will slowly fall towards

Fruit clusters on indeterminate plants appear on the stems. Pruning or removing side stems or suckers that grow at a 45 degree angle from between a leaf and stem below the first two flower clusters is recommended. Removing excess foliage from the bottom produces a stronger main stem and increases air circulation leading to healthier plants. Allowing the plant to develop side branches higher up on the stem will increase the number of tomatoes produced.

About a month before the end of season, remove all new suckers encouraging the plant to put energy back into the existing fruit. As the season winds down, remove the plant tops and any flowers that will not have time to develop.

All indeterminate branches need to be supported. This can be done with a trellis, stakes or strings handing down from above. When branches are not supported the fruit becomes too heavy causing the branch or stem to fall which often damages the rest of the plant.

Pinching out unwanted sucker should be done as soon as they appear. This is as easy as wiggling the sucker back and forth to snap it free from the main stem. and stem back and forth. Removing suckers when they are small leaves a small opening that is quickly healed by the plant. Removing larger branches can lead to holes in the stem that are susceptible in insects and diseases.

Tomatoes, like all plants, do best with the correct amount of water and fertilizer. Check the soil before watering. Plants that are just transplanted tend to need less water than ones that are established, actively growing and producing fruit.

Be consistent when watering fruiting tomatoes. A cycle of flood and drought makes it hard for plants to transport calcium throughout the plant. Lack of or n imbalance of calcium can result in blossom end rot.

The amount of fertilizer or nutrient needed depends on the soil. For best results, purchase a tomato fertilizer as it will contain micro nutrients that are essential for a tomato plant’s growth. Follow the instructions on the container.

People often head out and purchase all their patio tomatoes early in the season. Waiting to make the purchase might mean that an outlet will be sold out but it often means that the plants are larger, full of tomatoes and blooms making it a great addition to the patio.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at your_garden@hotmail.com

Just Posted

Central Alberta school divisions to support rural students through agreement

Wolf Creek to bring Enhanced Learning Model courses to Clearview schools

WATCH: Red Deer Catholic students re-envision a local wetland for school project

Father Henri Voisin Grade 3 teacher introduces ‘real-life’-based education

Manslaughter charge stayed against Maskwacis man

Man was accused of manslaughter in connection with the death of his mother in 2015

Red Deer Mounties make numerous arrests over the past two weeks

Over the past two weeks, Red Deer RCMP have made a number… Continue reading

Leslieville Elks’ new hall rising from the ashes

Leslieville Elks Lodge grateful for outpouring of support

WATCH: Red Deer Catholic students re-envision a local wetland for school project

Father Henri Voisin Grade 3 teacher introduces ‘real-life’-based education

Charges dropped against Alberta property owner in rural shooting

OKOTOKS, Alta. — All charges have been dropped against a man accused… Continue reading

China blocks John Oliver on social media after scathing show

BEIJING — A popular Chinese social media site is censoring discussion of… Continue reading

Most Red Deer Advocate readers would call police when witnessing a crime

An overwhelming number of Advocate readers would call the police if they… Continue reading

So much TV, so little summer: Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Dr. Pol

LOS ANGELES — The fall television season is months away but that’s… Continue reading

BlackBerry Q1 revenue, adjusted earnings beat estimates but stock falls

TORONTO — BlackBerry Ltd. shares sank almost 10 per cent to their… Continue reading

OPEC countries to pump more oil to contain price increase

VIENNA — The countries of the OPEC cartel agreed on Friday to… Continue reading

Man sentenced for Edson triple murder

EDMONTON — An Alberta man who fatally shot three people has been… Continue reading

‘Hot Dog Water’ seller in Vancouver gets laughs, sales with savvy marketing

VANCOUVER — A Vancouver man who sold bottles of “Hot Dog Water”… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month