Tags: farmers | ways | heirloom tomato | yield

Farmers: 3 Ways to Improve Your Heirloom Tomato Yield

By    |   Wednesday, 27 Jul 2016 09:03 AM

Heirloom tomatoes are one of the most marketable crops of the summer. Buyers looking for the best tomato flavor along with a rainbow of colors often flock to farmers’ market stands in search of these summer treats. If you want to grow heirloom tomatoes for market, here are some tips that can help you increase your yield.

1. Mulch heavilyAccording to Grow Journey, many of the common plant diseases that plague heirloom tomatoes spread by water splashing up from the ground and onto lower tomato leaves or the leaves being in contact with soil where pathogens lie in wait. A heavy layer of mulch not only keeps weeds at bay, it keeps moisture in the soil and helps prevent plant disease. GJ recommends using a thick layer of natural wood chips. When transplanting, the mulch can be moved aside and replaced when the seedling is in place.

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2. Graft your plants — Grafting is a process where a section of stem from one plant is inserted into the root stock of another plant. It is one way to achieve the disease resistance of hybrid varieties while still producing an heirloom-quality crop. Andrew Mefferd, a vegetable grafting expert at Johnny’s Seeds, says on Farm Show, “Our trials have demonstrated increased vigor and disease resistance with our grafted tomatoes.” In fact, you may be able to increase yields by as much as two-thirds.

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3. Keep foliage dry — Dry foliage usually means healthier plants and longer, larger yields. There are a few strategies you can use to accomplish this, explains Johnny’s Seeds. First, keeping plants spaced appropriately and judicious pruning of suckers helps to increase air flow in and around the plants which helps keep disease out. You can prune all suckers until you just have one leader which is trained upward. Finally, most tomatoes thrive when grown in high tunnels that keep the air warm and the plants dry. Drip irrigation delivers water directly to the roots without splashing the leaves.

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Brande Plotnick is an ambitious home cook, gardener, beekeeper, writer, and speaker who started her website, Tomato Envy, to inspire others to find their deliberately decadent life at home. Brande’s down-to-earth style and approachable manner have been winning over the readers who follow her blog. Her work has been featured in Urban Farm Magazine, Natural Awakenings, Mother Earth News, and the Whole Seed Catalog.

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Heirloom tomatoes are one of the most marketable crops of the summer. If you want to grow heirloom tomatoes for market, here are some tips that can help you increase your yield.
farmers, ways, heirloom tomato, yield
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2016-03-27
Wednesday, 27 Jul 2016 09:03 AM
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