There’s a few easy tips you can follow to help increase the health and productivity if your tomato plants, that you can do right now, in your garden.
1. 2-4 weeks before planting, place 1 handful of Epsom salt in the location where you will be planting tomatoes. Container, raised bed or ground. You can also put it in the hole at time of planting, or you can do it now. Epsom salt is allows the plant to take up the necessary calcium from the soil to prevent blossom end root rot. Blossom end root rot is the blackening of the blossom end of your tomatoes. It also helps build the chlorophyll levels in the cell walls of the plant. This will not fix the blossom end root rot on the current tomatoes you have on the plant, but it will prevent on the next set of fruit the plant will put on.
2. Remove limbs approximately 6-8 inches from ground level up the plan and or any limbs that are reaching, or touching the soil. This will allow more air circulation to the plant. This primarily prevents soil from splashing up on the leaves. That can introduce a variety of diseases to your tomato plant. You will not hurt the plant by trimming the limbs, but do use proper cutting devices, avoid pinching the limbs off.
3. Early blight is the yellowing of the leaves starting at the bottom of the tomato plant and moving its way up. Early blight is in all soil, do not be alarmed if you have it on your tomato plants. To prevent this, or greatly reduce the chances of getting early blight, take one handful of whole grain corn meal and sprinkle it around the base of your plant. There is a beneficial fungi in whole grain corn meal called trichoderma. After applying corn meal you can water it in, but one application per season is all that is needed in most cases. If at the time of application, there is discolored leaves on the plant, remove them before applying the whole grain corn meal.
4. We do recommend cutting suckers from your plant. Many gardeners encourage the removing of suckers which is additional growth between the stem and the branch in its joint (pictured below). Removing these does decrease the yield the yield, but in some cases could increase the health of the plant. Leaving them on, these suckers will create additional growth to the plant which will in turn create more opportunities for tomatoes. Ultimately it is at the discretion of the gardener whether or not to remove them, but we see no need to.
5. Spray your tomatoes, organically of course. Ingredients; 2 tablespoons of liquid seaweed and 1 tablespoon of liquid molasses per 1 gallon (3.79 liters) of chlorine free water. You want to do this every 2 weeks through the growing season. The liquid seaweed increases the sugar levels in the tomato plant. The benefit is the plant will be more susceptible to colder weather as fall approaches, which may allow the tomato plants to withstand freezing temperature because the sugar levels in the stem are higher than they otherwise would be. The liquid molasses stimulates and increases the microbial bacteria on the plant.