|Thursday Tips & Techniques: The "Dirt" on Your Tomato Dirt|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Thursday, 05 May 2011|
By Kathy Widenhouse, Guest Contributor
Third in a series The “dirt” your tomatoes grow in makes all the difference in whether your plants thrive and produce a bountiful crop--or not. Here are 4 tips to make your soil as welcoming as possible so that your tomato plants reward you with a strong crop!
1. Tomatoes thrive in rich soil
Tomatoes grow best in soil that is rich in organic material. Cultivate soil 8-10 inches deep. Work in 2-3 inches of compost, peat moss, humus or other organic matter. This is especially important step whether you have rich, black loam or terrible dirt.
2. Tomatoes thrive in well-drained soil
If soil is too compacted, water will gather around tomato plant roots and suffocate them. Add extra organic matter and sand to loosen the texture. In sandy soil, tomato plants will not absorb water. Add peat moss, humus and compost to help sandy soil retain moisture. No matter what soil type, you might consider building raised beds for your tomato plants to ensure that they’re well-drained.
3. Tomatoes thrive in slightly acidic soil
Tomatoes grow best in slightly acidic soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. The optimum pH for tomatoes is between 6.5 and 7.0. Test your soil. If numbers are above 7.0, then lower its pH by working sulfur into the soil. If numbers are lower than 6.0, then raise its pH by working lime into the soil. The best time to add sulfur or lime to the soil is in late fall or early spring.
4. Tomatoes thrive in warm soil Tomatoes like heat. You can help prevent transplant shock by covering your tomato plot with sheets of black plastic, which absorbs heat from the sun and accelerates the warming process.
About the Author:
Kathy Widenhouse is a contributing writer for The Daily Dirt and owner of Tomato Dirt, a leading source for information on growing tomatoes and using them.
If you are interested in being a guest contributor at The Daily Dirt, please contact us!