Keeping plants well-watered during the growing sea- son, particularly during periods of drought, will help ensure better yields and help control problems such as Blossom End-Rot which is a blackening of the fruit on the blossom end due to a calcium deficiency often related to water uptake. Proper soil testing, lime ap- plications and foliar treatment with calcium solutions like “Rot-Stop” (see Order Form) will also help avoid this problem.
The control of weeds is also extremely important when it comes to growing tomatoes, since weeds compete with plants for water, food and space. Keep soil cultivated to about a 1” depth or remove all established weeds and use a liberal application of mulch to prevent any new weeds from emerging. Mulch materials, such as straw or plastic film (see page 56), also help conserve moisture, help protect the fruits from rot and blight diseases, and help maintain even soil temperatures.
Plants grown on stakes or trellises will need tying at regular intervals throughout the summer. Do not tie stems so tightly that they are likely to be strangled by the ties as the stems grow and thicken. Use soft string, tomato clips (see Order Form), strips of old sheeting or other soft, stretchable materials. For those of you into recycling, strips of old pantyhose make excellent ties!
Ripening time varies with location and growing sea- son and is influenced by soil and weather conditions, but the days to maturity cited in this catalog gives you the approximate number of days from transplant- ing until the first fruits should ripen.
Leave the fruits on the vine until they become completely ripe for best flavor and food value. When tomatoes reach their full color, they are ready for picking – pull them off gently to prevent bruising.
After picking, tomatoes should be stored in a cool, dark place (but NOT in the refrigerator), where they will keep better than if left on the vine. In hot, damp weather fruits will be firmer if they are picked slightly before they are fully ripe and allowed to ripen indoors.
At the end of the season, all green fruits should be picked before the first hard frost. The greenest fruits may be used for making pickles, and those of ripen- ing size may be stored in shallow boxes or trays in a cool, frost proof area where they will ripen gradually and provide usable (although not vine-ripened qual- ity) fruits for many weeks.
TOMATO SEED COUNT
One oz. of most tomato seed varieties contains 8,000 to 10,000 seeds. Larger sizes contain the following approximate counts:
1/32 oz. contains 250 seeds 1/16 oz. contains 500 seeds
1/4 oz. contains 2,000 seeds 1/2 oz. contains 4,000 seeds
1/8 oz. contains 1,000 seeds CHERRY TOMATO SEED COUNT
One oz. of most cherry tomato seed varieties contains approximately 12,000 seeds. Larger sizes contain the following approximate counts:
1/32 oz. contains 375 seeds 1/16 oz. contains 750 seeds
1/8 oz. contains 1,500 seeds 1/4 oz. contains 3,000 seeds
To ensure that our customers understand how easy tomatoes are to grow, we devote two pages in our catalog to provide the basics of the culture. For an easily understood, more comprehensive explanation, though, we offer John Page’s detailed, 34-page guide at this very special price!
TOMATO GROWING GUIDE #82455. Regularly $3.95 – Specially priced at $2.99! Save 25%!
DISEASES & PESTS: Tomatoes are attractive to many worms, beetles, diseases and other pests, so it is important to keep a very close eye on what is happening throughout the growing season. Damaged or stripped foliage is almost a sure sign of tomato hornworms, and holes bored into fruits mean tomato fruitworms have hatched. Blotched and yellow foliage may mean blights are present, and stunted plants could mean nematodes have invaded.
Organic gardeners often choose to hand pick these uninvited guests, or perhaps utilize insecticidal soaps or pyrethrins (see Order Form & page 59) as treat- ments in combination with natural predators. Other gardeners, especially those with larger plantings, may need chemical pesticides for control of various insects and diseases. Be certain that the pesticides you use are labeled for your specific crop and pest, and follow label directions.
To combat disease problems common to some tomato varieties, you may consider planting the more modern hybrid varieties which have in-bred disease resistance, as compared to the heirloom types that have been passed down for generations.
With the help of your local extension service, first determine what disease is affecting your crop. Then from our variety listings on the following pages, select the hybrid for your area that possesses the resistance you need. The disease identification codes shown below follow the variety names.
V – Verticillium Wilt F – Fusarium Wilt (FF – Races 1 & 2; FFF – Races 1, 2 & 3)
N – Nematodes T – Tobacco Mosaic Virus A – Alternaria Stem Canker St – Stemphylium Gray Leaf Spot TSWV – Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus
4-Tier Mini- Greenhouse Economical and ideal for seed propagation, plant growing and display. Features a rugged steel frame- work and durable, nylon-stitched, clear plastic cover with a zipped front panel and rust-proof plas- tic zipper. The cover is easily removed for storage. Assembles in minutes without tools. 5’3”H x 2’3”W
x 19”D. Complete instructions included. #52967. $59.95 each #52967C. Replacement Cover, $24.95 each #52967F. Protective Fleece Cover (Fits over existing cover for additional frost protection), $14.95 each
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CONTAINER GARDENING: For those of you who have limited gardening space or have only a porch or patio, take heart! — for some tomato plants adapt especially well to container gardening.
Again you need a sunny (at least 8 hours) spot and a container of adequate size (5-gallon nursery pot or even a bushel basket lined with pine straw). Some cherry to- mato varieties perform well in hanging
baskets, and many of the patio-types (dwarf or stakeless) can be grown in even smaller containers. Be sure to use a good, well-drained potting mix and add several inches of coarse gravel or styrofoam pieces in the bottom for better drainage.
Feed plants at regular intervals (10 to 14 days) with applications of general purpose blends of water- soluble fertilizers or apply timed-release fertilizer in the soil medium.
PRESERVING: Tomatoes are so versatile that many gardeners plant extras for canning, freezing and juicing. You can easily prepare your own soups, juices, spaghetti and other sauces, tomato pastes, pickles and many other recipes. An enormous amount of information and recipes are available in The Practical Produce Cookbook (Order Form) and The Joy of Pickling (page 55). Your local extension service is also helpful for information on home freezing and canning.
Mrs. Wages Tomato Sauce Mixes Easy, convenient and economical! Just add fresh or canned tomatoes, or tomato paste, sugar and oil, for the best tomato sauces you’ve ever tasted. Each packet makes 5 pints of sauce. #54033. Chili
#54034. Ketchup #54036. Salsa #54037. Pasta
#54038. Hot Salsa $3.95 each; 3 or more pkts. $3.45 each
#54039(X). One packet each of all 6 tomato sauce mixes. Just $18.49
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