Growing Tomatoesin the Home Garden
David A. Hillock
Extension Consumer Horticulturist
Extension Consumer Horticulturist
Susan E. Gray
Extension Horticulturist - Tulsa County
Tomato is one o the most popular home garden crops inOklahoma. Tomatoes can grow in a small area, bear throughmost o the season, are easy to grow, and have many culinaryuses in the home. They are low in calories and a good sourceo Vitamin C.
Selecting Growing Area
Tomatoes should be grown in ull sunlight and plantedaway rom trees and shrubs to obtain highest yield. Tomatoplants require abundant moisture or best growth, so arrangeor easy watering. The area selected should be well drainedsince poor drainage promotes root loss. Tomatoes grown onheavy or poorly drained soils should be planted in raised bedsor mounds our to six inches high.
Tomatoes grow well in many types o soil but preer deep,ertile, well-drained soil that is amply supplied with organicmatter and is slightly acidic (pH o about 6.5). The soil shouldbe worked only when it is dry enough that it will not stick totools. Garden soil may be improved by adding rotted manure,lea mold, peat moss, or other organic materials.Fertilizers should be added when the soil is prepared orplanting. A soil sample should be taken or testing i ertilizerneeds are not known. Collect and submit the sample or test-ing at least six weeks prior to planting time. Your OSU CountyExtension oce has inormation on how to collect, prepare,and send a soil sample.
When needed, a complete garden ertilizer should beadded to the soil when it is prepared or planting. Tomatoespreer a ertilizer low in nitrogen, high in phosphorus, andmedium to high in potassium. Prior to transplanting, use oneto two pounds o 10-20-10 or similar ertilizer or each 100square eet i you do not have soil test inormation.All ertilizers should be worked into the top six inches osoil. For additional details on ertilization and soil preparation,obtain OSU Fact Sheet F-6007.
Productivity, ruit characteristics, and resistance to dis-eases should be considered in selecting tomato varieties orthe home garden. One may want to consider selecting variet-ies resistant to Fusarium wilt and nematodes since these areproblems in all areas o Oklahoma.The ollowing list provides some varieties that have provensatisactory or Oklahoma. However, it is not a complete list.The variety determination will also depend on the personaltaste preerences o the home gardener.
Small Fruit Large Fruit Paste
Juliet Better Boy VFN Milano VFMountain Bell VF Big Bee VNF
AST Roma VFN (canning)Small Fry VFN Bigset VF
NAS San Remo VFSweet 100 BrandywinePixie Carmello VNFTSungold FT Carnival VNF
Sweet Million FNT Celebrity VNF
TYellow Pear Flora-dade VF
Jet Star VFMountain Pride VFPik-Red VNF
Summer Flavor 5000 VNF
ASSunray F (yellow)Disease resistance or tolerance codes: Verticillium wilt (V), Fusariumwilt, Race 1 (F), Fusarium wilt, Races 1 & 2, (F
), Root-Knot nema-tode (N), Tobacco mosaic virus (T), Alternaria stem canker (A), andStemphylium (gray lea spot) (S).
Producing Tomato Plants
Earliness o production and quantity o ruit producedare infuenced by the quality o the plant and the time it istransplanted in the garden.The ideal tomato plant should be six to eight inches talland dark green, with a stocky stem and well-developed rootsystem. Normally, six to eight weeks are required to producethis type o plant rom seed.A amily interested in having only resh ruit should plantthree to ve plants per person. I ruit is wanted or home pro-cessing, then ve to ten plants per person should be grown.
Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service
Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Fact Sheetsare also available on our website at:
Division o Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources • Oklahoma State University