What is your best tomato or squash gardening tip?

via Vegetable Garden Planting by admin on 3/21/10

Or any kind of vegetable tip, really. I am a brand new gardener. I am LOVING IT! But, I do not have a mentor. So, would you please share your secrets?

The trick to planting tomatoes is to start early, or to buy them yourself at a local garden center. Tomatoes need to be started indoors about eight weeks before the last frost date for your area. Once all chance of frost has passed, transplant outside.

Tomatoes are heavy feeders, and require space! Plant them eighteen inches apart (at least) as they get leafy pretty quickly, and spread out. You will also need a tomato cage of some sort.

Also do some companion planting. I plant basil near all my tomato plants as they improve the flavor. Panting carrots nearby also helps. The presence of onions repels many pest because the onion smell confuses them, and by planting garlic, you repel the red spider mite.

If you smoke, don’t handle tomato plants until you’ve washed your hands. Along that same line, never handle wet tomato leaves.

Tomatoes should be watered as close the the base as possible, keeping the leaves dry. Use a soaker hose.

Some research suggests that by using red, you get bigger tomatoes. That’s why you’ll see red planters, red cages, and other red stuff for your tomato plants.

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