- Don’t plant your tomato plants in the same place every year. Rotating their location helps reduce the risk of soil diseases.
- Grow sweeter, juicier tomatoes by adding a teaspoon of sugar to the watering can once the tomatoes begin to show color
- Produce sweeter and juicier tomatoes by adding powdered milk to their water. Milk is a great source of calcium, which nourishes the plant and can help prevent blossom end rot
- Protect your veggies with milk. Sprinkle the water you swish around to wash an empty milk container on your plants. Tomatoes (as well as eggplant, peppers, and potatoes) love milky water because it can kill the tobacco mosaic virus.
- Another way to give your tomatoes all the calcium they need to prevent blossom end rot is to put a small piece of wallboard or gypsum board in the ground close to their root zone. This will give them plenty of calcium to prevent this disorder. Gypsum can also be added to soften clay soil if the soil has a lot of sodium in it.
- Here is an amazing way to boost your tomato harvest. Build a Japanese tomato ring in your backyard if you want monster tomato bushes and a bumper crop. First, prepare a round bed in a sunny spot, about 6 feet in diameter. Wrap 10 feet of cattle wire into a cylinder and center it in the cleared bed. Fill it with alternating layers of fertilizer, compost, and shredded leaves, then soak it well. Plant four tomato plants around the cage and tie them to the wire trellis as they grow. Water the compost pile regularly. The tomato roots will find water plentiful food in the pile.
- Keep tomatoes at room temperature. Chilling in the refrigerator will diminish their garden-fresh flavor.
- The best couple ever? Tomato and Basil! Though basil will grow anywhere, plant it next to a tomato plant, and this fragrant herb will fight off tomato pests and encourage the fruit to grow large and juicy. Then when they are ready eat thick slices of tomato with fresh basil and mozzarella cheeses. A favorite side dish at any Mediterranean table.
- Deter tomato worms by planting Borage or Pot Marigolds nearby.
- Tomatoes and Cabbage make great companions! Tomatoes repel diamondback moth larvae and caterpillars that chew the cabbage leaves.
- Bee balm, chives, and mint improve the health and flavor of tomatoes
- Marigold deters nematodes.
- Don’t plant tomatoes near corn. They are attacked by the same worm.
- Mature Dill retards the growth of tomatoes.
- Kohlrabi stunts the growth of tomatoes
- Don’t plant potatoes near your tomatoes. They are attacked by the same blight and viruses
Pests and Diseases:
- Prevent Blight, Blossom-end rot, and other common tomato diseases by sprinkling a handful of Nonfat Powdered Milk in the hole before planting transplants. After planting, sprinkle 2 more tablespoons on top of the soil. Repeat this topdressing every few weeks. You can grind the chalk and use it too for the purpose. These diseases are caused by calcium deficiency.
- Tomato and potato plants are vulnerable to fungal infections. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of mineral or canola oil in one gallon of water and spray this mixture on plants in the early growing season.
- Trap sap beetles with vinegar. Sap beetles, sometimes called picnic beetles, are tiny brown bugs that get into tomatoes. They are attracted by bruised, damaged or overripe fruit, but they also love the smell of vinegar. To get rid of them, take a couple of disposable, aluminum pie pans, cut some holes in the sides of one and attach it upside down on top of the other. Fill this trap with vinegar, set it out, and wait for them to go in and drown. This also works with other kinds of sweet seeking beetles.
- A simple way to keep control on tomato pests is to space your plants 6 to 8 feet apart. This prevents them from falling prey to pests like dominoes, one after the other.
- Be sure to wash your hands before you touch your tomato plants if you use tobacco. Nightshades are sensitive to the tobacco mosaic virus. To be on the safe side plant resistant varieties.