TEXAS AGRILIFE EXTENSION SERVICE
BEXAR COUNTY BY DAVID RODRIGUEZ
April 4, 2009
Tomatoes should be supported. Whether you cage or stake them is personal preference. Regardless of the method, plants with foliage and fruit supported off the ground will produce more than unsupported plants.
Caging has several advantages. It involves less work than staking. Once the cage is placed over the plant there is no further manipulation of the plant – – no pruning, no tying. The fruit are simply harvested as they ripen.
It is necessary to fertilize the garden before planting tomatoes. Apply fertilizer again when fruit first sets. From that point on, an additional fertilization (side-dress) every week to 10 days is recommended.
Vegetable plants grown on sandy soils should be fertilized more frequently than those grown on heavy, clay soils. A general side-dress fertilizer recommendation like a 19-5-9 analysis is one to two tablespoons scattered around the plant and lightly worked into the soil.
All granulated fertilizers including a synthetic or organic formulation need to be thoroughly watered in after application to limit the potential of plant burning.
David Rodriguez is the County Extension Agent-Horticulture with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Bexar County. For more information, call the Master Gardener “Hotline” (210) 467-6575 or visit our County Extension website at http://bexar-tx.tamu.edu.