Tomatoes are used for making different recipes and are always in demand. They are usually delicious when eaten raw, or even when cooked. To make them have thick stems and maximize production, all you have to do is provide them with the right growing conditions, from the time they are young, till they attain full maturity. Tomatoes are sensitive and require great care. Here is a guide on how to grow tomatoes with thick stems.
Table of Contents
- Growing Tomatoes from Seeds
- Support Your Plants
- Mulching the Plant
- Pruning Your Plants
- Watering Tomatoes
- Adding Fertilizer
- Crop Rotation
- When Is The Right Time To Harvest Tomatoes?
- Protect Your Plants from Diseases
- Frequently Asked Questions
Growing Tomatoes from Seeds
Start tomatoes from seeds. Plant them in a nursery bed, and then transplant them after six weeks. Whether you are growing them in pots or directly in the soil, space them adequately. Tomatoes grow well in sunny spots. Ensure they get exactly that, by avoiding shady areas. You can still grow them indoors using artificial lighting since natural lighting will not be sufficient. Use potting soil when growing tomatoes in pots, and make sure they have drainage holes, to avoid water-logging.
Support Your Plants
Tomato plants are climbers and will need support to grow properly. Use trellises or wooden poles to provide that support. Tomatoes left to spread on the ground will easily be attacked by diseases and pests.
Mulching the Plant
Tomatoes require frequent watering. To make your work easy, mulch your plants to conserve water and reduce watering needs daily. It will save you both time and watering costs. Mulching offers other benefits to plants, too, such as discouraging weeds from invading your plants. It also adds nutrients to the soil, after decomposition.
Pruning Your Plants
Prune the lower leaves of your plants. If the leaves are left to grow, rainwater may splash on them, and they will start rotting and spread it to the leaves on the upper part.
After transplanting the seedlings, water them every day, as they can easily die due to dry conditions. The best time of the day to water them is in the morning, as the evaporation rate will be low.
After the seedling has started taking root, reduce the frequency of watering. You can start watering three times a week. Water them deeply so that they will develop strong roots.
After transplanting the seedlings, apply a starter fertilizer, which will help them develop a strong root system. Compost will also add nutrients to the plant. Apply it together with fertilizer twice a month.
Crop rotation is essential, as it prevents the nutrients the tomatoes require from getting exhausted. Legumes are some of the best plants to plant after tomatoes, as they provide the soil with nitrogen, an essential nutrient for tomatoes.
When Is The Right Time To Harvest Tomatoes?
Different varieties of tomatoes take different time to mature. Some may take two months, while others will take three.
Harvest the fruits when they turn red. You can also harvest them when they are green, and let them ripe in the house. However, this is risky, as you may harvest immature fruits that will not ripen, but rot instead. That is why it’s advisable to harvest them after they attain the red color. Simply pluck the fruit with your hands from the plant.
Protect Your Plants from Diseases
Tomatoes are susceptible to attack by many pests. They make them weak and have very thin stems. These include
If aphids attack your plants in large numbers, they might cause massive damage. Aphids form clusters on the surfaces of the leaves and suck sap from them. Apply insecticidal soap on the plants to get rid of the aphids.
2. Leaf Miners
Leaf miners suck the juice from the foliage of tomatoes. They leave white patches on the leaves and fruits. If the attack is not severe, just eliminate the attacked parts to avoid further spreading the insects.
Cutworms feed on plants at night and hide during the day. When they attack the plants at their early stages, they might feed on the stems, and eventually break. Sprinkle cornmeal on the affected plants to kill cutworms. If only a small number have attacked your plants, pick them with your hands, at night when they are more active. Remember to use gloves, as holding them with bare hands can cause discomfort.
Whiteflies suck sap from the leaves of tomatoes, resulting in yellowing. They eventually kill the plant, when in large numbers. Whiteflies also make tomatoes prone to other infections like powdery mildew and sooty mold. Whiteflies love gardens with debris, such as fallen leaves. Always make sure your garden is tidy by collecting all forms of garbage, to deny them of shelter.
If your tomatoes are already affected, spray insecticidal soap on them to get rid of whiteflies
Diseases that affect tomatoes include
5. Bacterial Wilt
The bacteria that cause bacterial wilt may live on the soil for several years, and affect the plants planted on it. Tomatoes growing in areas with high temperatures and rainfall are more susceptible to bacterial wilt.to prevent your tomatoes from getting the disease, practice crop rotation, and always use certified seeds.
6. Leaf Mold
Leaf mold is a bacterial disease that causes yellowing of the leaves in the lower parts of tomato plants. It may also affect its stem and kill the entire foliage. To prevent tomatoes from developing leaf mold, avoid watering the foliage of tomato plants. If your plants have been affected already, use a fungicide to treat them.
7. Fusarium Wilt
Fusarium wilt makes the stem of a tomato plant develop a dark stream on the inner sides. It may cause wilting of the branches, and eventually drooping of the entire plant. Fusarium wilt can wipe out a whole tomato field within a concise period and may last in the soil for several years. Practicing crop rotation will help get rid of it.
8. Blossom Drop
Tomatoes affected by blossom drop develop flowers, which don’t form fruits. Instead, they fall off prematurely. Blossom drop is usually caused by watering the tomatoes inadequately, attack by insects, or a deficiency of certain minerals. Feed your tomatoes properly and add sufficient water on them to prevent blossom drop.
If blossom drop is spread to your plants by insects, apply neem oil on the affected parts to get rid of them.
If you want your tomatoes to have thick stems, you don’t have to do anything special. Just do the usual plant care and protect them from developing diseases. Plants that are not appropriately watered poorly fed and are attacked by pests and diseases will grow weakly, and their fruits production will be very low.
Frequently Asked Questions
Tomato stems may grow thin due to various reasons such as insufficient sunlight, lack of nitrogen, or improper watering,
Only prune your plants when they have reached a height of 30cm. if you prune it when they are shorter, they might not recover.
Some plants like dill and cabbage are affected by the same pests as tomatoes. Growing them together will facilitate the spread of pests and diseases.
It is not advisable to eat tomato leaves, as it contains traces of toxic alkaloids. Only eat fruits.