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Planting Tomatoes Is Easy, Right??

I was stopped dead in my tracts the other day by an e-mail I received from a reader, seems she was pretty pis…..upset. Apparently she is a new reader and was a little confussed and concerned after reading through some of my older postings about how to go about planting tomatoes.

I guess I’m guilty of one of the things I hate most about all these various “Gurus” out there….assuming the newbie understands the basic concepts of any subject.

Let’s take a look at this, I mean I think it’s pretty easy….let’s look at the basics….1st off where are you going to plant? All you need is a piece of dirt facing south so there’s maximum sun exposure. Of course we want to test the soil for pH balance….preferably acidic, that is a pH reading below 7. OK, 7 is kinda the mid point on the acid-alkaline scale (pH). I better go over this.

The pH scale runs from 1 – 14, OK? So, you might be asking right about now what the hell is pH….that’s simple, in a solution pH approximates but is not equal to p[H], the negative logarithm (base 10) of the molar concentration of dissolved hydronium ions (H3O+); a low pH indicates a high concentration of hydronium ions, while a high pH indicates a low concentration. There you go, that wasn’t too bad was it? Let’s cover what the readings mean in real world terms. 1 is the most acidic, I mean this will melt your hand acidic, then there’s alkaline at the extreme which is a 14 reading which will burn your hand beyond recognition….I’m kidding, but to the plants in your garden this is pretty accurate. Now between each number we have a multiple of 10, like the pH of 7 is ten times more alkaline than the reading of 6, kinda like the Richter Scale for earthquakes…..and while we’re on earthquakes I don’t recommend planting your garden in a high earthquake zone….you can….but don’t say I didn’t warn you if one comes along! OK, where were we? Oh yea, we were talking about the multiplicands of the intensity of pH numbers. Did I mention that this is a liquid measure? So you have to put your dirt in a solution….shake it and compare with the color chart on the soil sampling kit you went out and bought….you did buy a soil sampling kit right?…..Hey…that reminds me…your water has a pH too! So we better check that as well…no pun intended….R-R-R-R…check water….”well”……nevermind

OK….so we have our soil site facing south….the soil is slightly acidic…5.9 – 6.7 and our well or city water is not too alkaline…..alrighty, whats next? Oh yea…the tomatoes we’re going to plant.

Now there’s regular tomatoes, hybrid tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, and then there are some combinations of those…oh yea…and there are deterrminate and indeterminate varieties unless you graff the tomatoes, then you can get just about anything…so I’ll leave it up to the new gardner what type to pick….just get a few seed catalogs and peruse the 1500 plus varieties and pick a few, or you could just go to the local greenhouse and pick up some seedlings and use those…see how easy this is? Oh, I almost forgot….you need  to know about diseases…here’s a list. You can study each disease by clicking on the link…..there’ll be a quiz later, so study well!

Bacterial Speck, Bacterial Canker, Late Blight, Alternaria Canker , Buckeye Rot, Radial Cracking, Sun Scald , Tomato Mosaic , Spotted Wilt , Blossom End Rot, Anthracnose, Black Mold, Sour Rot, Alternaria Canker, Cottony Leak, Cloudy Spot, Spotted Wilt, Blossom End Rot, Early Blight, Alternaria Canker, Bacterial Canker, Bacterial Speck, Bacterial Spot, Early Blight, Gray Leaf Spot, Late Blight, Leaf Mold, Powdery Mildew, Septoria Leaf Spot, Verticillium Wilt, Cucumber Mosaic Virus, Spotted Wilt, Salt Damage, Phosphorus Deficiency, Beet Armyworm Damage, Leaf Miner Damage, Early Blight, Alternaria Canker , Late Blight Fusarium Wilt, Fusarium Crown Rot, Timber Rot, Southern Blight, Broomrape, Corky Root , Southern Bacterial Wilt, Fusarium Crown Rot, Damping Off, Root Knot, Phytophthora Root Rot, Southern Blight.

OK….let’s see….location…..soil and water pH….tomato types….diseases….Oh yea, when do we plant? Here’s a map….I don’t know where you live so you figure it out….














You can also go to the Farmer’s Almanac http://www.farmersalmanac.com/calendar/gardening/

Alrighty then, I think I have the pis….aggravated lady up to speed now and it’s just a matter of following along. Not hard really….you just have to know a little Biology….a touch of Chemistry…..a smidgeon of Agriculture, a working knowledge of Bioshereic Weather and a good grasp of Planetary Alignment and the reading of Owl Entrails. What could be easier?

Posted Saturday, February 4th, 2012 by by admin, under General Tomato News.

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