Welcome Page
John's Journal
Backyard Survival
Special Reports
Guides & Lodges
Free Tips

Book Selections


Fun & Games

Trivia Game

Contact Us

E-mail Us

Backyard Survival...

Grow Tomatoes in Your own Backyard (Continued)

To Train or Not to Train

Late May is an ideal time to transplant tomatoes because they need over 2 months to mature. Frost in earlier months will threaten their survival. With no training, the plant will yield more fruits per plant. However, trained crops produce cleaner, easier-to-harvest and more rot- resistant fruit than untrained plants.

Untrained plants should be separated by 24 to 36 inches, and each row of plants 36 to 48 inches apart. If training a plant with stakes, tie the plants with a rag or twine to a 6 foot stake placing it 10 inches in the ground. Space the plants 1 1/2-feet apart, and separate different rows by 3 feet.


A preferred method of training involves a cage. The gardener prunes less and yields a better crop because the tomatoes grow naturally. In fact, research shows that regular pruning decreases the sum amount of a tomato plant. You can make a cage by assembling mesh wire into a cylinder 2 to 5 feet tall and 15 to 22 inches across.

Short cages are only good for specific varieties. Tall cages, suggested for home use, should be used for average- sized and tall-growing tomatoes like Big Boys, Better Boys, and Beefsteak tomatoes. Caged tomatoes grow best 2 to 3 feet apart and need 5 feet between other rows. Put the cage in place shortly after you transplant the seedlings. Then provide cover, such as an organic mulch or black plastic (cut a hole and plant through it). In the tenth week, remove covering and fertilize.

Buckets and Decks

You can use a 5-gallon plastic bucket to grow tomatoes on your deck, back porch, patio or balcony. Punch four or five small holes with an ice pick or a knife in the bottom of the bucket to let the water drain. Next put 2 inches of mulch in the bottom of the bucket. Then pour in a mixture of cow manure, topsoil, and Osmocote Time-Released feritilzier.

When the bucket is filled within 2 inches of the surface, dig a hole in the dirt, and plant the tomato plant. Cover the hole with the dirt you've removed. Use cypress mulch to fill up the rest of the bucket. Pour in some Tomato Miracle Gro Liquid Fertilizer you've mixed up. Keep the plant watered while it's growing and bearing fruit.

Insects and Diseases

Insects and disease are a constant threat to the well-being of a garden. Cutworms, flea beetles, hornworms, tomato fruitworms, aphids and Colorado potato beetles terrorize tomatoes in particular. Diazinon and Sevin flowable, two types of pesticide, combat these foliage- loving pests effectively.

Many tomato diseases are not often responsive to chemical treatment. Some kinds of fungus cause defoliation by yellowing the oldest leaves first or starting at the bottom of the plant and moving upward. One of the most common diseases is stem rot; it is characterized by rotting at the stem's ground level and having black pea-lie objects located inside the stem. Soil rot differs in creating brown spots in 1-inch circles and cracking the fruit in half. Wet or cool weather may increase the chance of getting one of the previous diseases.

You can contact your local garden shop or the County Extension Office in your area for more specific information. Gardening is cherished by many people as a therapeutic hobby. It relieves daily frustration and replaces it with a sense of accomplishment. Don't just sit and enjoy creation; do a little creating of your own this summer.


Go Back