Tomato Tips

Plant Tomatoes Deep

Plant tomato plants a couple inches deeper than they are growing in the pots when you buy them. They will root all along the buried stem making it stronger and better anchored. We do this when we transplant the seedlings to their individual pots. Bending them carefully so we don’t snap the stem, allowing for the sturdiest root and stems we can offer.

Barb likes to say “Lay their heads on the pillow,” meaning the first leaves should rest at soil level. Obviously it works, we grow great plants.

Adding some lime to the soil also improves the calcium content and will help prevent blossom end rot.

Peppers should also be planted deeper than they are growing in their original pot for the same reason.

Feed and Water

I use Jack’s Bloom Booster on my veggies as well as my flowers – the more blooms on your tomatoes, the more fruits you will pick – I average 50 large tomatoes per Big Beef plant in my little garden. It’s easy to see why I only need four plants. And yes, all these pictures are from my little garden!

Freeze Surplus Tomatoes!

This is the quickest, easiest, and tastiest way to preserve your harvest! Convenient to do in small batches.

  • Dip tomatoes into boiling water for a few seconds, then into cold water.
  • Strip off skins.
  • Cut out stem ends and cores.
  • Pack whole, if being frozen raw.
  • Cut into halves or quarters for either the raw or the cooked pack.
  • For precooked tomatoes, cook quartered tomatoes, covered, over medium heat just until soft.
  • Then cool rapidly and pack.

Tips for Freezing Tomatoes

  • Scalding or blanching time for preparing tomatoes for freezing, is a few seconds only, just enough to loosen skins for peeling.
  • When packing, allow 1 inch head space.
  • Pack raw tomatoes down firmly to eliminate air pockets.
  • One bushel or 55 pounds of tomatoes yields 30 to 40 pints. But this method is so easy; I just do a few bags whenever I have a surplus.

Freezing Whole Tomatoes

  • For whole tomatoes, cut out stems and wrap whole in plastic wrap or small freezer bags.
  • Freeze raw.
  • For use after freezing, hold under hot water for a few seconds to loosen skin.
  • Peel and add to cooked dishes.

Freezing Stewed Tomatoes

  • For stewed tomatoes, blanch for 30 seconds to 1 minute to loosen skins; peel and core.
  • Cut into chunks and simmer 10 to 20 minutes. Cook just until heated through.

Freezer Storage Life

Ten months to a year is a reasonable time period during which you can expect quality to remain high, so long as the freezer temperature remains low. Some freezers are equipped with special quick-freezing sections or extra cold surfaces, if your freezer has one of these, be certain to use it.

Sphinx Moth

Have you seen this Baby Hummingbird Moth on your tomatoes? Also known at the Tomato Hornworm, it does have a veracious appetite, but once grown, it will become one of the most anticipated garden visitors. It is very approachable in flight and is often mistaken for a young hummingbird, hence the common name – Hummingbird moth.

PLEASE research your caterpillars before you choose to destroy them.

About Cathee Thomas

Cathee ThomasAs Garden Center Manager for Sabo's Woodside Nursery, Cathee brings decades of horticultural experience, including over 20 years at the Holden Arboretum. It was there that she developed a fascination with rare and unusual plants.