1) There are two broad categories of tomato plant, those that form a flower cluster at a terminal point and those that continue to grow taller indefinitely. The latter are called indeterminate and they tend to mature very late in the season. That makes them subject to possible frost damage.

2) Tomatoes love sun. They like very hot, dry soil and air. When they get it they grow up big and plump with healthy leaves. But cold temperatures will cause them to die rapidly.

3) Dealing with that potential problem involves employing a number of techniques. Some growers will utilize a small, mobile greenhouse to cover the tomato when frost is likely. Others simply plant and harvest early enough that the problem never occurs. Which you employ and when depends on your specific growing season – when it begins and ends.

Factoid 1: According to Archeological finds, the tomato is thought to have originated in the lower Andes in an area covering parts of what are today Ecuador, Bolivia And Peru. The Peruvians, so apt at developing other foods, do not seem to have cultivated it.

4) The opposite problem can occur, however with other varieties – sun burning. These so-called first early varieties are well suited to northern climates since they are often ready to harvest in 60 days or less. The cooler climates are perfect for these medium sized species.

5) Beyond weather problems, tomatoes are at risk for a number of common diseases, pests and soil problems.

6) Blossom end rot, caused by a calcium deficiency, appears as a large brown spot at the bottom of the tomato. It will often produce a soft spot and appear as the tomato ripens. One underlying cause is an uneven watering practice. Water helps transport calcium into the plant.

Factoid 2: In America, as elsewhere, the tomato was principally grown in home gardens long before it was cultivated commercially, chiefly because of its perish ability.

7) The only solution is to pick the affected tomatoes off to give the others the best chance to thrive. But preventative methods are preferable. Water deeply to encourage deep root growth. Mulch around the plants to help the topsoil retain moisture during dry spells. Keep the pH around 6.5.

8) Tomato hornworms are a common scourge of all tomato growers. These four-inch larvae tend to blend into the green stems of the tomato plant. But they can be seen by the aid of the long white stripes down their sides. They have a large false eyespot, a black spot, on the tail.

9) The adults are large brown moths that may achieve wingspans of up to five inches. Marigolds, basil and other trap crops can help keep them off the tomato plants where they lay their eggs that develop into larvae.

Factoid 3: Botanically, the tomato is a fruit, legally, it is a vegetable ~~ in the United States at least, by decree of the Supreme Court which in 1893 ruled that because it was used like a vegetable it must be considered as one for the purposes of trade.

10) Aphids are another common problem for tomatoes, as they are with many plants. They are tiny (1/10 inch across), soft-bodied bugs that appear yellowish, green or white. They can be temporarily washed off with a hose but will return.

11) Planting companion crops such as petunias, anise or coriander can help control them. But there are also many insecticide soaps that eliminate the problem without harming the tomatoes or you when you eat them.

Factoid 4: It is the most popular of all vegetables for home gardeners and the third most popular for consumers of canned vegetables after sweet corn and green beans.

12) Though they require a bit of care, tomatoes are regarded as well worth the effort by most vegetable gardeners. After all, the whole purpose is to have tasty, healthy vegetables to eat. Happy growing and eating.

Here are 8 good tips for growing the best possible crop.

1. Good soil is a must with all vegetable gardening for producing healthy lettuce leaves and other vegetables. Give them lots of nutrition by keeping the nitrogen level high with the use of a good 30-10-10 NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) fertilizer.

2. Plant the seeds about 1/8-3/8 inch deep, separated by 6-12 inches from the next plant. Use a graduated yard stick if in doubt about the measurements. Romaine does fine at the smaller spacing, but crisp lettuce needs more room. If you plant in rows, keep the rows separated by about 20 inches. Keep in mind that seeds shouldn’t be planted too early, since they’re subject to cold damage.

3. Keeping the soil moist but not soaked is good. Lettuce doesn’t have very deep roots, so it needs to find moisture near the surface. Still, try to keep the water off the leaves and onto the soil, use a soaker hose for the best results, except for the occasional washing after a hard rain splashes mud on the leaves. Wet leaves encourage disease, especially when they’re moist during nighttime temperatures.

4. Since their roots aren’t very deep you’ll also need to be diligent about weeding around lettuce plants. Many grasses and other plants can compete well because their roots go down to deeper soil. Infrequent but deep watering, letting the top layers dry out, will give most an advantage. But lettuce doesn’t have that advantage, so you’ll need to help them.

5. Like most vegetables, lettuce plants also have problems with diseases and pests. In their case, the variety is quite large. Many insects find the leaves irresistible and the folds offer many places for fungi to grow.

6. Aphids, flea beetles and leafhoppers are common problems. Slugs are even more so. Cutworms are often seen. Washing with a high pressure hose can help temporarily, but be sure to do it early to give the leaves time to dry before nightfall. A good insecticide (safe for human consumption) and lightly applied will keep them under control for the long term.

7. Anthracnose (Microdochium panattonianum) is a common fungal disease. It can stay alive in unplanted soil for many years, so don’t assume you’re safe because your garden is new. Bottom rot (Rhizoctonia solani) is another common fungus. It occurs usually in soil that drains poorly. Keeping the foliage dry and planting in good soil will help to reduce the odds of being infected.

8. Bolting (to flower and produce seeds earlier than expected or wanted and the leaves stop growing) is a common problem with lettuce, and it isn’t a disease or pest, though it can be worsened by them. Lettuce likes cool weather and bolting is more common when the temperatures are consistently too high. Keeping the plants shaded will help. One way to do that is to plant a shading crop, like corn , over the lettuce.

You can be the plant Doctor who saves them

It’s a jungle out there and plants need health care just like humans. Keeping your vegetables disease free is an ongoing effort. An effort that employs multiple methods makes this chore easier. The first rule of doctoring is do no harm. Here are some disease control tips to help you heal your plants.


To start with good soil preparation and proper seed selection is essential to produce healthy plants. If you plant seeds, read the back side of those envelopes for instructions on how, when and where to plant. If you transplant, picking healthy plants will keep disease from being introduced and spread. Do some triage (inspection) and remove any diseased plant before it can infect others nearby.


The earlier the better. This gives the leaves a chance to dry before nighttime temperatures set in. The time and methods by which you apply water can influence the spread of disease in other ways. Water splashed off one plant onto another exposes the ones nearby to any disease the first one carries. It’s like being near a person with a cold who sneezes into the air spraying the germs everywhere. Even rainfall will produce the same effect to some degree.

Best Soils and Fertilizer for Vegetables

The best way to get the freshest, tastiest vegetables is to grow your own. In order to grow healthy vegetables, soil and fertilizer are major factors to be given due importance.


It is important that you check the soil at the time of selecting the best location for your garden. As part of the soil testing process, simply squeeze a handful of soil in your hand to test the moisture content. Dry as dust soil means you will have to put in a lot of effort to get the soil up to the required nutrient levels before planting.

The ideal soil for growing vegetables is a rich, loamy soil; fertile, easily crumbled, high in organic matter, well drained and deep. Often you have to work with what is available in your garden. Properly prepared soil regardless of a sandy or heavy clay texture can still be used.

If the soil you have to work with is light sandy soil or heavy clay, adding plenty of organic matter is probably the fastest way to make the soil loamier in texture. Additives to the soil like peat moss, decomposed leaves, compost or old horse manure help considerably.

If you plan to add something, make it a two to three inch high layer. Make the addition in spring before you start to prepare the soil.

Repeat the process again in the fall.

The pH or acidity balance of the soil is important. Ideal pH values for most vegetables lie between six to six point five, which is slightly acidic. Seven is considered neutral; any value below seven is acid, and above is alkaline. You will need to have a soil test done to learn how much lime and fertilizer your soil will require to raise pH values to the required level. If you need to add lime, make sure it is done several months before planting. An application of lime in the fall will probably correct soil acidity in time for spring planting.


Fertilizers are best applied just before or at planting time. Two methods of fertilization are broadcasting and row application.

Broadcast fertilization is done by spreading the fertilizer on top of the soil. Generally, a combination of both methods works well. The fertilizer needs to be tilled into the soil for a depth of approximately four inches.

Use the broadcast method to apply fertilizer to entire garden area. The rest needs to be applied to each row in three inch wide furrows on each side of the row.

Gardening: Giving Your Home A More Relaxing Atmosphere

Many people do not really know that little backyard can literally save their lives. According to experts, gardening is a potent stress buster and people who love to work on their gardens tend to live happier lives compared to those people who watch TV when they get home from work. If you are one of those people who are exposed to a lot of stress at work all day, gardening can help you relax and unwind after a very stressful day.

Indoor Gardens Versus Outdoor Gardens

Gardening can be done both indoors and outdoors. If you are one of those lucky people who have lots of space in your backyard, you can set up a nice garden where you can relax and unwind after a long day at the office. You can design your garden is such a way that you will have some privacy and a lot of peace and quiet. Setting up a small water fountain in your garden can also help you relax and feel at peace with yourself.

On the other hand, if happen to live in the city where there isn’t really much space for gardening, you can still have your very own garden at home. Just because you live in a windowless apartment that does not mean that you cannot have your own small indoor garden. However, unlike when you have a large yard where you can set up a big garden and let the sun nourish your plants, indoor gardening can be a lit more complicated.

Now, before you start thinking that indoor gardening is out of your league, consider this, the only real difference between indoor gardening and outdoor gardening is that the other gets the benefit of natural sunlight while the other needs artificial light. Other than that, the basic ideas of gardening are more or less the same. Whether you are doing indoor gardening or outdoor gardening, you will use more or less the same garden tools.