Tomatoes are a warm season vegetable that prefers sunny locations and fertile, well-drained soil. For more information on tomatoes, click here.
VARIETIES: Tomatoes can be categorized by maturity class (early, midseason or late), fruit size (cherry, pear, plum or large), plant size (determinate, semi-determinate or indeterminate), fruit color (red, pink yellow or orange), or use (fresh, process or dual use). Most varieties will grow well in Utah but not all are available.
Before planting, incorporate 2 to 4 inches of well-composted organic matter and apply 4 to 6 cups of all purpose fertilizer per 100 square feet. For more information on soil preparation, click here.
- Plant tomato seeds 4 to 6 inches apart, ½ deep in the soil, and 18 inches apart in the row.
- After the seedlings have two leaves, thin to one to two plants per clump.
- Tomatoes should be planted once soil temperatures reach 60°F or when frost danger has passed.
Irrigation: Water tomatoes deeply and infrequently while trying to maintain even soil moisture. About 1 to 2 inches of water are required per week. Use drip irrigation, if possible, to conserve water. Applying mulch around the plant also helps conserve soil moisture and reduces weed growth. Moisture fluctuations can cause blossom-end rot. For more information on watering, click here.
Fertilization: Avoid heavy fertilization with tomatoes, which encourages excessive foliage growth and delays fruit maturity. Side dress tomato plants with a nitrogen fertilizer, using ½ tablespoon per plant at four and eight weeks after transplanting. For more information on fertilizing, click here.
Harvest: Tomato fruits require 25 to 35 days to mature from flowering, depending on the temperature and variety. Pick fruits when they are fully colored, but firm for the best flavor and quality. At the end of the season, harvest all fruits that are mature, green or colored slightly.
COMMON PESTS AND DISEASES: Aphids, cabbage worms, loopers and wilt diseases are common pests of tomatoes. Appropriate insecticides at seeding or strong water streams are both effective ways to control these pests. For more information on controlling pests and diseases, click here.