The sign is back up in the greenhouse, and two words say it all: Tomater Love. That’s right, Tomater Love, not tomato love. You see Tomater Love is everything that being from the south is all about. You don’t have to be born and raised here to get into the ‘Tomater’ groove. No matter how you pronounce it, nothing says sublime springtime gardening like planting and growing your own tomatoes.
Whether you grow them in the ground or in a container, growing tomatoes in Tennessee can be done successfully by anyone, so long as you have plenty of sun and good soil. So, how much sun is plenty? Six hours is the absolute minimum; eight hours or more full sun is much preferred. You’ll get some fruit with only six hours, but you’ll mostly get foliage. Eight hours of sunlight or more will substantially increase your yield… as well as the flavor.
So what constitutes good soil? If you are growing them in the ground, good soil for tomatoes is soil that you haven’t grown tomatoes or potatoes in for at least 4 years. The reason being is a soil-born fungus named Verticillium wilt; the enemy of tomato lovers everywhere! If your plants last year exhibited yellow splotches on the leaves, eventually turning brown and dropping off from the bottom upwards, you likely have Verticillium wilt. The only effective treatment is rotating the aforementioned crops on a 4-5 year rotation. The other effective growing strategy is containers. Using a large container, 12-15” wide and 15-18” deep, or larger, works best. The soil should be either replaced annually or plant different crop, to prevent altogether.
Using EarthMix® Proganix™- o for all your outdoor contained gardening efforts is the perfect mix of everything your garden needs…outside!
I invite you to tune in to “The At Home Show with Josh Cary & David Bates” this Saturday Morning on 650 AM WSM. Our guest host is country music legend Sammy Kershaw…guaranteed to be fun and informative!