Five Simple Growing Tomato Plant Tips

Tomatoes are the variety of plants that are quite easy to grow. However, if you are still a novice when it comes to growing tomatoes then you might start off a bit rocky especially if it comes to varieties and certain choices that affect growing tomato plants. So to give you a good start at growing tomato plants, here are all you need to know about growing tomatoes.

There are five quick tips you need to know to give you a head start and keep the plants growing greatly. The first point is to choose your tomato variety. Basically, tomato varieties are grouped into two namely: Determinate and Indeterminate. Beginners should start off choosing the determinate types of tomatoes since these tomato plants require only little room. They also don’t need staking and pruning unlike some indeterminate variety of tomatoes. Most Hybrid types of tomatoes are actually determinates. Simply ask from determinate types of tomatoes at your nearest nursery.

Second tip: begin with a hybrid. Like I have mentioned above, most determinates are hybrids. Hybrid varieties are known to have been bred with definite traits, one of which is being resistant to known plant diseases. Tomato varieties of the traditional pure strains taste better than hybrids but these require a more experienced gardener. Do not fret because there are hybrid varieties that are widely available that are more than acceptable to the taste buds plus these don’t require complicated growing tips and pointers.

Third tip to growing tomato plants is to begin with seedlings. Beginner gardeners like you can do so much without the complexities of growing tomatoes from seeds. Get the hybrid determinate tomato seedlings from the nearest nursery. It is also best to ask their advice since you are a beginner. This will make things easier for you especially if unwarranted circumstances and complications may arise when it comes to growing tomato plants in your own garden. Choose the seedlings that are solid looking and squat.

Fourth is to begin in a container. Seedlings should be placed in a pot or even in an upside down planter. Doing so will control location and soil requirements easier since good location and soil are the major points to assert when it comes to growing tomato plants. Do however make sure you use a big pot that is enough to hold the tomato roots since these can grow quite long. You do not want to cramp the tomato roots.

Last pointer in growing tomato plants is to start off with fertilizers. If you’re a beginner I suggest you should stick with tried and tested fertilizers. If you’ve already mastered soil requirements, tomato plant nutrition and watering then that would be the time when you should try organic fertilizers.

There you have it, the five quick tips a beginner should know when it comes to growing their own tomatoes. Remember that it takes patience and hard work to get that perfect batch of tomatoes.

Spring Planting Tips

Spring means that the garden centers are packed with people, and car trunks are packed with plants. Everybody has dirt on their knees, dirt under their nails, and is excited about gardening. To make certain that this excitement yields positive results, let’s discuss the basics in this article of spring planting tips.

Installing new plants and having them grow successfully is not difficult, nor is it as complicated as some would have you think. Is it as easy as just digging a hole and setting the plant in? Yes, it certainly can be. I won’t get into bed preparation, as I have covered that in other articles that are available at

Let’s start with B&B plants. B&B is short for balled in burlap. Closely examine the ball on the plant that you have purchased. Did the diggers wrap twine around the ball to hold the plant secure? If they did, you should at least cut the twine and lay it in the bottom of the hole, or remove it completely. Pay close attention around the stem of the plant where it emerges from the root ball, as diggers often wrap the twine around the stem several times as they tie the ball. This is extremely important because if the string is nylon, it will not rot and will girdle and kill the plant two or three years from now.

When B&B plants are stored in the nursery for extended periods of time it becomes necessary to re-burlap them if the bottom starts to rot before the plants are sold. If the plant that you buy has been re-burlaped it is possible that there could be nylon stings between the two layers of burlap, so check the stem carefully. As long as the nylon string is removed from around the stem of the plant, it is actually harmless around the rest of the ball, and you do not have to remove it.

Is the root ball wrapped in genuine burlap, or imitation burlap made of a non-biodegradable plastic material?

Genuine burlap will rot quickly underground and does not have to be disturbed before planting. If you’re not sure or suspect a poly type burlap, you don’t have to remove it completely, but should loosen it around the stem of the plant and cut some vertical slices around the circumference of the ball.

Now here’s the critical part. What kind of soil are you planting in?

If your soil is heavy clay, I highly suggest that you raise the planting bed at least 8″ with good rich topsoil. If you can’t do that for some reason, install the plant so that at least 2″ or more of the root ball is above the existing grade and mound the soil over the root ball. Keep in mind that plants installed this way could dry out over the summer, but planting them flush with the ground in heavy clay can mean that the roots will be too wet at other times of the year.

The “experts” suggest that when planting in clay soil you dig the hole wider and deeper than the root ball and fill around and under the plant with loose organic material. That sounds like a really great idea, doesn’t it? Some of these experts also recommend that you dig the hole extra deep and put a few inches of gravel in the bottom for drainage. Where do you suppose they think this water is going to “drain” to?

Keep in mind that most B&B plants are grown in well drained soil. That means that the soil in the root ball is porous and water can easily pass through. Now imagine if you will, a root ball about 15″ in diameter, setting in a hole 30″ in diameter. All around and under that root ball is loose organic matter. Inside of that root ball is porous soil. Now along comes Mother Nature with a torrential downpour. There is water everywhere, and it is not going to soak into that hard packed clay soil, so it is just flowing across the top of the ground searching for the lowest point.

When it reaches our newly planted tree surrounded by loose organic matter, it is going to seep in until the planting hole is completely full of water. (Remember my article on getting rid of standing water and the French drain system?) By using this planting technique we have actually created a French drain around our poor little plant that cannot tolerate its roots being without oxygen for long periods of time. Because the bottom of this hole is clay, even though we’ve added gravel for drainage, there is nowhere for the water to go, and this plant is going to suffer and likely die.

If you cannot raise the planting bed with topsoil, and are planting in clay soil, I recommend that you install the root ball at least 2″ above grade and backfill around the ball with the soil that you removed when you dug the hole. Backfilling with the clay soil that you removed is actually like building a dam to keep excess water from permeating the root ball of your newly planted tree. The plant is not going to thrive in this poor soil, but at least it will have a chance to survive.

Once again, raising the bed with good rich topsoil is the best thing you can do to keep your plants healthy and happy.

No matter what kind of soil you have, be careful not to install your plants too deep. They should never be planted any deeper than they were grown in the nursery. Planting too deep is a common problem, and thousands of plants are killed each year by gardeners who just don’t understand how critical planting depth is.

Staking newly planted trees is always a good idea. If your new tree constantly rocks back and forth when the wind blows it will have a very difficult time establishing new roots into the existing soil. Stabilize the tree with a stake. You can use a wooden stake, a fence post, or for small trees I often use 1/2″ electro magnetic tubing, (conduit), available at any hardware store.

You can secure the tree to the stake with a single wrap of duct tape. In about six months or a year the sun will dry the glue on the duct tape and it will fall off. Check the tape to make sure that it has fallen off. You don’t want to girdle the tree with the tape.

Container grown plants are much easier. Follow the rules for depth of planting as described earlier. Before gently removing the plant from the container, check the drain holes in the bottom of the container for roots that might be growing out the holes. If so, cut them off so they will not make it difficult to get the plant out of the container.

The easiest way to remove the plant from the container is to place your hand over the top of the container and turn it completely upside down and give it a gentle shake. The plant should slide right into your hand.

Examine the root mass as you hold it in your hand. Sometimes when plants have been growing in a container for a long time the roots start to grow in a circular pattern around the root mass. This is not good, and you should disturb these roots before planting so you can break this circular pattern. You can take a knife and actually make about three vertical slices from the top of the root mass to the bottom. This will stimulate new roots that will grow outward into the soil of your garden. Or you can just take your fingers and loosen the roots that are circling the root mass and force them outward before you plant them.

What about fertilizer, bone meal, peat moss, and all those other additives they are going to try and sell you at the garden center?

Raise your planting beds with good rich topsoil and forget about the additives. Be very careful with fertilizers, they can do more harm than good. I landscaped my house 14 years ago and I haven’t got around to fertilizing the plants yet, and have no intention of doing so. They look great.

As far as bone meal and all those other soil additives are concerned, don’t get too caught up in all that stuff. The only thing that I know for sure is that they will make your wallet thinner, but I don’t think you’ll see a difference in your plants. Over the years I’ve landscaped several hundred homes with fantastic results, and I never added any of these additives to my planting beds.

Tree Planting Tips

Fall is an excellent time of the year for planting trees and shrubs. In the more moderate zones, October, November, and December are near perfect times for planting a variety of species. A couple of factors such as water requirements being lower and the fact that most varieties are busy storing nutrients from the ground during the colder months are major advantages. The Arbor Day Foundation has made available a hardiness zone tool. It is a great method for determining what types and species should work the best for your region of the country.

There are a few basic guidelines to consider before starting. Choosing the site is, for the most part, a matter of choice as to curb appeal. Time spent learning the conditions most favorable for the variety you have chosen to prosper is invaluable. One example of this is a tree or shrub that requires a lot of moisture. You would want to consider planting this species a considerable distance from oak trees. The reason for this is that oak trees drain quite a bit of water from the ground to stay healthy. Another factor to consider is the eventual root structure. If you decide on a shrub that does not naturally produce a deep root, you might plan on locating it closer to natural wind shielding areas. Read and follow closely the instructions and directions that come with most varieties you purchase.

Remember to keep in mind as well, whether it is a fruit bearing tree or not. These should be planted away from decks, walkways and parking areas to minimize their dropping messy fruits on heavily traveled areas. Also consider the eventual size once it reaches maturity. The main reason for this consideration is for structural damage to the foundation if it is located too close to your home.

Once you have determined what tree or shrub you are going to plant, adhering to some basic planting tips will pay great dividends in years to come. As to the initial planting, dig a hole that is just slightly shallower than the root ball and about twice as wide. The shallower depth allows the root ball to be at or just above the soil level. Doing this enables the root structure to begin life in the more fertile top soil. Some experts believe also, that if you are planting in harder clay, as opposed to a looser soil, you should dig the hole a little more than twice as wide as the root ball.

Rose Planting Tips for Gardeners

One of the most common but also one of the most popular types of garden worldwide is rose gardens. Many people from different places as long as rose planting is feasible would make it sort of a hobby. There are also those who grow roses for business purposes and monetary gain. Whatever the reasons are for rose planting, roses are wonderful standalone flower that has been in existence for many years. Roses have many symbolic meaning. It could either be romance or plain friendship perhaps dependent on the color of the flower. If you want to try rose planting, you need tips to get you started.

1. Provide food for your roses. Just like you, roses require adequate amount of nutrients. You should begin providing food for them even prior to placing them into rose holes. Providing nutrients could be a scoop of compost or manure.

2. Obtain rose food from your local greenery shop since they are formulated to be used for roses. This is important to facilitate good blooming during season. But, if you prefer to go green, compost and manure would do the trick.

3. Ensure adequate circulation. Roses don’t just need food but they need air as well. Make sure that there are no weeds growing in between roses so that they will not impede proper circulation. The compost should be around 2-4 inch layer but it should be placed with a little margin away from the rose stems.

4. Keep the roses with adequate moisture. The best way to do this is to place mulch so that it helps prevent too much drying on the rose stems. This is important especially during warmer months where the soil tends to dry too fast.

5. Remove dead stems or canes. This is also one of the most important rose planting tips that you should bear in mind. Remember, these dead stems or canes can harbor pests and insects endangering your roses and predispose them to disease.

6. Always perform regular pruning. Remove the sharp thorns that can damage the outer skin of the stems especially when the stems rub with each other.

7. Get insecticidal soap handy so that when the roses get infested with aphids you can just spray them off with it.

8. Make sure to clean the surroundings of your rose garden to avoid fungal growth, which will predispose the roses to re-infection during rainy days.

In conclusion, roses are very rewarding to plant but the most important rose planting tip that you should always remember is to make sure that you wear protective clothing when working with them. Rose thorns can hurt therefore it is important you wear thick gloves and long sleeves.