What’s wrong with your tomato?
I’ve seen some sad looking tomatoes photos come through the store lately and I think it’s time we had a talk. To me, talking about the proper way to grow plants is a bit reminiscent of a lecture hall course of days past. I love making comparisons and using analogies, so how ‘bout we get weird?
Let’s pretend a planted tomato is in fact a 7 year old kiddo buried waist down in the beach. (Odds are he was told to assume such a position by an older sibling, but we can skip that small detail.) It’s July, it’s hot, we would like to tuck him into his bed at night so here’s what we need to do to keep him happy and healthy!
Hydrate! Water water! Morning water is preferred, as people tend to need to rehydrate after a long night of zzzzzs. Supplemental water later in the day when it’s crazy hot can help reduce stress (we call it heat stroke, in the human world). A properly hydrated kid(tomato) can properly process vitamins and minerals that fuel his cells and keep him healthy. Insufficient water can lead to mineral deficiency and weakened immune system. Too much water can lead to irreparable damages. Even the Guinness Book of World Records won’t let anyone compete to stay in water the longest. Longest Bath in the world? Not gonna happen.
*AND one more watering note, put the water where it can be taken in. A young boy stuck in the sand needs a cup and straw to drink, not a torturous bucket of water dumped over his head, just as a tomato needs it at it roots and soil level, not blasted at it’s leaves.
Food! Some food for energy will keep anyone from getting cranky, even a child buried in the sand from the waist down. If you have the water thing under control, think about giving your sweet child some food. Any old food will do the trick for quick energy, but maybe an ice cream treat that has Calcium will be a real WIN for your little tike. (Tomatoes really do need calcium, BTW, and there are fertilizers on the shelf that are loaded with Ca just for your toms.)
*In reality, a tomato needs supplemental food every 10 days or so and it’s best to do so on a sunny day when your tomato has already been happily watered with clear, fresh water. Too much food can lead to a host of problems too, so stick to the 10 day rule.
Tomato specific: Are you noticing tell tail signs of decline, yellow leaves or a mushy black spot on the bottom of a tomato on the vine? It’s not too late to pick up good plant/tomato care practices. Pluck off rotten fruit and begin again by following the processes you learned above. Think of your tomato as if it were a kid buried in the sand from the waist down….one that you want to keep healthy and happy!!