Garden Essentials

Ways to Prevent Tomato Disease in Your Garden

cherry tomatoes in a bowl

Tomatoes might be the one vegetable (or fruit!) that most of us gardeners grow each season. Juice from a ripe tomato dripping down our chins is a celebration of summer!

This love for tomatoes can make it especially frustrating when they’re struck by disease. Unfortunately, in many locations there’s a long list of diseases that attack, and often kill, our beloved plants.

Most of the diseases are fungal in nature and are often hard for the untrained eye to tell apart. The good news is there are some things you can do in your garden to decrease the negative impact these diseases have on your summer harvests.

I like to call them “best practices” because this list should become part of your regular gardening routine every year. If you love your tomatoes, incorporate as many of these as possible to protect and support your plants in fighting off disease.

What Happens When a Plant Bolts?

White cilantro flowers mixing with colorful annuals in the summer garden.

In most gardening climates there’s a transition period when the cool temperatures of spring start to give way to the warmer days of summer. For those of us who love summer, it’s a time to rejoice – our favorite season of the year has finally arrived. We revel in the heat and sun! But, for those of us who prefer cooler temperatures, we might start to get a little cranky with the arrival of hotter days.

Did you know the vegetables in our gardens have weather preferences just like us gardeners? Some vegetables grow best in the mild temperatures of the early season – lettuces, cilantro, radishes, and spinach. And others seem to sit and sulk in the garden until the thermometer starts creeping over 80 degrees F – eggplant, peppers, basil, summer squash.

You may notice that when your particular garden hits this change from spring to summer some of your cool weather vegetables start to bolt.

How to Choose Which Tomatoes to Grow

Whether you grow your own tomato plants at home or shop for seedlings at your local farmers’ markets, you’ve probably felt overwhelmed when trying to decide which tomato varieties to grow in your garden. Don’t feel bad about that! There are hundreds of varieties of tomatoes in cultivation and reading the plant descriptions doesn’t help much – they all sound like the best variety ever!

Each of us gardeners have our own top five list of favorite tomato varieties. You can ask ten gardeners for their picks and not hear the same tomato twice. So, in an effort to help you make the best decision for you, I’m going to have you take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Instead of trying to make your decisions on the fly when you’re standing in front of a table of plants in the hot sun, here are some things to think about before you buy.

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