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Gardening Tips and Tricks

Best Tips for Protecting Growing Tomatoes

Best Tips for Protecting Growing Tomatoes

It’s only January, but gardening enthusiasts around the country are meticulously planning their summer gardens. From selecting and sprouting seeds to garden bed planning and preparation, winter is a time of looking forward for serious gardeners— looking forward to the rewarding work that a garden requires, and also looking forward to that first hard-earned, garden-fresh tomato sandwich. Make 2022 your best year yet for growing tomatoes with a few essential tips from Dalen. Paying extra attention to your trellises, ramping up your pest protection strategy, co-planting with the right companion plants, and using Dalen’s renowned Automator trays are all great ways to boost your yield and streamline your tomato growing process.  

Trellis Your Tomatoes for Maximum Growth

Take a huge step toward a bumper crop this year by ensuring your indeterminate (vining) tomato plant varieties have proper trellising in place. Not only do sturdy tomato cages and trellises keep your growing fruit off the ground where they can rot prematurely or be attacked by pests, but the right trellising saves you space and gives you better access for pruning, too. Choose (or build) cages that can be used year after year for maximum return on your investment. With a spacious set up from the beginning of your growing season, you won’t need to replace or change your system as your plants get bigger, which saves you time and money AND results in more tomatoes! 

 

Co-Plant Your Tomatoes for Efficient Planting 

As you plan your garden beds, traditional or raised, consider the efficiency of the layout of your garden. Tomato plants need ample space between plants to allow room for their root systems to develop, which leaves surface area between plants. Rather than spend your time weeding all of that vacant soil, opt to add  low-intensity, shallow crops to thrive between your tomatoes. This year, try tucking small leaf lettuces between your tomato plants to maximize every inch of your garden beds. It’s a smart way to optimize your square inches in your garden bed planning. Let your prize winning tomatoes share space with tender salad greens for a winning co-planting situation.

 

Watch for Pests and Disease on Your Tomato Plants

An ample tomato crop requires vigilant protection against unpredictable pests and diseases. Tomato Mosaic Virus commonly causes a variety of symptoms in tomato plants, including badly formed or yellowed leaves and stunted fruits.  One of the most challenging aspects of fighting Tomato Mosaic Virus is that it can remain in the soil for up to two years. It is more likely to survive in dry soil, so keeping soil moist is a simple way to ensure the virus doesn’t survive long term in your garden. Additionally, keep your hands and tools clean when handling plants and seeds is crucial, as the virus is spread most by human involvement. The Extension at the University of Minnesota has detailed information on how the Tomato Mosaic Virus is spread and how to help prevent it. 

Tomato Hornworms are another major issue gardeners face each year. These huge green caterpillars are easy to recognize because of the impressive spike on their tail. Tomato Hornworms can decimate your tomato plants quickly, and unfortunately for the squeamish, the best way to rid your garden of them is by removing them from the plants by hand. According to the University of Minnesota Extension, the best plan of attack is to pluck the caterpillars from your plants and “drop them into soapy water to kill them.” Fortunately, they are not difficult to spot on your plants. Scan your tomato plants for hornworms regularly for early identification of any pests. 

Blossom End Rot is one of the biggest issues that home gardeners tend to run into while growing tomatoes, which can completely ruin your juicy crop. When plants are affected by blossom end rot, the end of the fruit that is not connected to the plant turns black and renders the fruit mostly inedible. Researchers think that this blight is caused by a calcium deficiency in the plant. Interestingly, the solution is not necessarily to spend money on calcium supplements for your plants – the problem usually can be solved with early, consistent watering to make sure your plant has good nutrient uptake. 

 

Use an Automator for Optimal Growth

If you are in the market for a tomato growing tool that is scientifically proven to boost tomato harvests by 40% or more, add the Automator to your garden plans. With patented innovation, the Automator creates an ideal micro-climate that promotes long term health for your tomato plants while also generating rapid growth. Every detail of the Automator is intentional and the results are second to none. 

The Automator tray defends the plants from weeds while also holding up to ½ a gallon of water to distribute water right to the roots through gravity-fed spikes that plunge 4 inches into the soil. The tray maintains moisture in your garden soil, prevents blossom end rot, and encourages roots to grow down to natural ground moisture levels.

The red color of the Automator tray reflects a unique spectrum of light that promotes optimal growth, while the unique collar works to prevent pests like cutworms. Plus, the Automator doesn’t just work for tomatoes. It improves pepper harvests by 100%, too.

Perfect for large scale garden planning or for your first square foot gardening effort, the Automator reduces your weeding time and improves your crop yield— it’s a win/win situation. Take advantage of the gravity-fed slow-drip irrigation of the Automator to establish your best tomato plants yet. Made in the USA, durable for years of use (with appropriate care), and boasting a simple DIY installation, your summer gardening will be easier and more fruitful with Dalen’s Automator. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Make sure that your 2022 tomato season is your best yet with these simple tips from Dalen Products. Plan smart and plan ahead for the good results you want, with Dalen.