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Peat pots make planting extra easy: Just dig the hole, put in the plant, and fill in with soil. There's no need to take your plants out of the pot.
Here's a hint: Cut off any extra peat-pot sides that stick up above the potting mix. If you don't, the peat pots will dry out faster than the surrounding soil, leaving your tomato plants thirsty and suffering.
It's always a good idea to give freshly added plants a little extra water the first week or two after you plant them to help them get established. They're most susceptible to drying out when they're young.
There are two basic categories of tomatoes: determinate and indeterminate. Determinate tomatoes, sometimes called bush tomatoes, put on most of their growth before they start to bloom and produce fruit. Indeterminate tomatoes keep growing after they start to bloom -- so the plants can become quite large (more than 6 feet tall). Stake indeterminate tomatoes to keep them standing. It will help keep the plants healthy and make the fruits easier to harvest.
Try planting your tomatoes in containers if you've had trouble growing them in the past. Large containers filled with a high-quality potting mix give your plants more protection from fungal diseases.
Here's a hint: Choose a big container for your plants. The bigger the pot, the less often you'll have to water.
We know mulch is good for the garden -- but university research suggests that red plastic mulch may make your tomato plants more productive. (One study showed yields increased by 20 percent by using red mulch.) Red mulch also helps the soil conserve moisture longer during hot, dry periods and inhibits weeds.
You can use a variety of devices to protect your tomatoes from the cold if you want to get a jump-start on the tomato-growing season. One of the easiest is a simple cloche made from an old milk jug; simply cut the bottom of the jug and set it over your tomato plants. Leave the top open so the cloche doesn't get too hot inside during sunny days.
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