This has been the 3rd year (I think) that I have had tomatoes. I have ruined them year after year because I simply did not do my research. So here is what works for me…
1. Only water the roots: I only water the roots. I do not water the whole plant. Previously, I thought, “Well, when it rains, the leaves get wet.” Yes, although that is true, I have discovered that it does not normally rain everyday and you are watering everyday. So, I only water the roots.
2. Water them a little everyday: You don’t want to over water your tomato plants, but it is important that the soil is moist. Where my garden is, in the raised beds, I have plenty of drainage. I actually check on them in the morning and at night. I just dig a little to see if the soil is moist. It should really never be dry.
3. Always mulch: I think it’s important to add some kind of mulch, leaves, something to retain the moisture. In past years, I did not do this and my tomato plants did not produce and the leaves were yellow. This is a sure sign you need to adjust watering.
4. Don’t over water! After some research, I learned that that is why my tomatoes would split. I wouldn’t water them for a few days and then I would try to compensate by adding a ton of water. Which brings me to my next point. It is important to have a watering schedule.
1. Prune the suckers?? I know this sounds strange, but when a tomato grows it grows in a ‘Y’ shape. Then right between the ‘Y’ grows a little piece.
You can see that I am pointing to this in the picture above. Simple tear it off with your fingers, or you can cut it with scissors.
I prefer to use scissors because I really don’t like the smell of the tomato plants and it leaves a little bit of a cleaner cut.
2. Trim the bottom of the tomato plants: There is simply no reason to keep your tomato plants growing low to the ground. Not only do the leaves toward the ground not produce fruit, but they also take important nutrients from the tomatoes. So, I simply cut them off too!
The bottom of my tomato plants have nothing on them, I cut them all off. You can also see how I trimmed the suckers off from the ‘Y’.
After all that trimming, my tomato plants are doing quite well. It doesn’t seem to matter where I cut, the plant heals itself. In the picture below, you can see two places where I cut that are okay.
Just don’t forget the importance of watering the plants correctly. You can cut (it seems) anywhere you want and the tomato plants won’t die. I am proud that I actually have nice tomato plants this year. FINALLY! And the tomatoes taste great too! I don’t even like tomatoes, but I think because I grew them, I actually want to eat them. 🙂