Culture: Usually started indoors Feb–April. Minimum germination soil temperature 50°, optimal range 60-85°. Transplant after frost danger has passed. Avoid using fresh manure as it causes lush foliage with few ripe fruits. Instead use generous amounts of well-rotted cow or horse manure or compost to boost plant vigor, and crushed eggshells or gypsum at the bottom of each hole for calcium. Heavy phosphorus needs. Respond well to foliar sprays.
Good seed retains viability so we often commission two-year productions. Organically and sustainably grown seed was rinsed with a sodium hypochlorite solution to reduce risk of seed-borne disease. This treatment poses no health risks.
Saving Seed: Saving tomato seed is easy! Remove stem-end and crush the fully ripe fruit into a container. Ferment uncovered for a few days until the slurry forms a moldy cap. Rinse in a fine strainer and dry seeds on a coffee filter. To ensure true-to-type seed, grow open-pollinated varieties and separate by 50 feet.
- ASC: Alternaria Stem Canker
- EB: Early Blight
- F: Fusarium
- GLS: Grey Leaf Spot
- LB: Late Blight
- N: Nematodes
- SEPT: Septoria Leaf Spot
- TSWV: Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus
- TMV: Tobacco Mosaic Virus
- V: Verticillium
Pests and Disease Remedies for Tomatoes
Early Blight shows up as drying and dying leaves at the bottom of the plant. EB can be managed culturally; should not result in significant crop loss. Mulching deters EB by reducing rain splash on foliage. Do not compost affected plants as EB can overwinter even on dead tissue.
Cultural controls: Rotation, avoid stressing plants, staking, minimize leaf wetness, mulching, indeterminate varieties are more resistant/tolerant, disinfect stakes & cages.
Material controls: Regalia, Cease.
Late Blight usually starts on the foliage of the plant. Early in the season, late blight infection shows as roundish lesions on leaves that uniquely will cross the center vein of the leaf. Later, blotches appear on stems. Still later, hard crusty lesions form on fruits. LB on tomatoes is not seed-borne and does not survive on dead tissue. Letting plants freeze on soil surface kills LB spores.
Cultural controls: Destroy cull potatoes & potato volunteers, avoid overhead irrigation.
Material controls: Regalia, Copper, Cease.
Septoria Leaf Spot can appear almost overnight. It is characterized by yellowing and small circular spots on older leaves. It can eventually spread to the entire plant in conditions of high humidity and temperatures. It can be spread by wind or carried on clothing and tools. Septoria can live over the winter on live tissue, so don't compost affected plants.
Cultural controls: Space plants for good air circulation.
Material controls: Regalia, Copper, MilStop.
Cultural controls: Rotation, mulching, minimize plant wetness, staking, use compost.
Material controls: MilStop, Copper, Regalia, Cease
Cultural controls: Look for frass (droppings) and handpick. Eeeuww! Use a blacklight to find them. See if you can get the chickens to eat them.
Material controls: Bacillus thuringiensis subsp.kurstaki, Monterey Garden Insect Spray, Entrust.
Tarnished Plant Bug
Cultural controls: Floating row covers, good weed control.
Bacterial Canker, Spec and Spot
Cultural controls: Disinfect greenhouse materials & cages, farming tools & gloves, avoid overhead irrigation, don’t work crop when wet, rotate crops, use compost.
Material controls: Copper.