Tomatoes form one of the favorite crops
of the home garden, as they will grow in all types of soil. Sandy loam, with
plenty of humus, is ideal for growing tomatoes.
If plants are grown in seed flats, hotbeds or cold
frames, follow the directions for transplanting given on pages
9 and 10. Plants
suitable for setting out should be 4-6 inches high, having a thick stem and
dark green leaves. Begin cultivation as soon as the plants are set.
Cultivate deeply and close to plants at first but later cultivation should
be more shallow to prevent injury to roots. Cultivate frequently to keep the
soil loose over the surface, so preventing evaporation. Always cultivate
after a rain.
When preparing seed flats, hotbeds, or cold frames for
tomato seed, use soil which has never grown tomatoes. This insures plants
free from disease. It is not advisable to plant tomatoes on land which has
been planted the previous year with white potatoes, melons or tomatoes. To
plant on such soil increases the danger from disease and pest.
It is always advisable to train the plants to stakes or
other supports. They may be trained on wires or on poultry wire fastened on
posts set about fifteen feet apart in rows. Barrel hoops a foot apart
fastened to stakes eighteen inches apart are some times used. To tie plant
to support, loop the string around the support and tie it under a leaf stem.
Remove all side branches at the axil of the leaves as soon as they appear.
Do not remove flower clusters. When the plant has reached a height of 5 feet
cut off the top.
When three or four clusters of fruit have formed
and some of the fruit is as large as a silver dollar prune the leaves at the
base one half. This hastens ripening.
Once a month apply a little commercial fertilizer* or
compost around each plant. Avoid the use of fresh or unrotted manure as this
produces too much leaf growth, the fruit does not set and disease is
Fig. 20––A tomato plant should be tied with a strip of
cloth, at a height of ten inches, again at about 26 inches. The plant here
pictured is a good one from which to save seed.
For early spring, plant 1/4 ounce of seed to 50
feet of row, sowing them 1/2 inch deep, in rows 1 foot or more apart. For
fall crop 1/4 ounce of seed to 50 feet of row, 1/4 inch deep, or make the
rows 8 to 10 inches wide and scatter seeds thinly in broad rows.
Plant 6 or 8 seed to a hill, one inch deep, in
hills 8 to 9 feet apart. Thin to 2 plants to hill. Give the same care as for
pumpkins. The young and tender vegetable marrow may be baked whole like
sweet potatoes or may be sliced and fried like eggplant, or boiled like
Plant 1 inch deep, 8 or 10 seed to each hill,
the hills 10 feet apart. Later thin to 2 plants to each hill.
Watermelons require much room and are not recommended
for small gardens.