Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)



Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Tomato Plant Care

By Michael Russell

The tomato is one of the most popular plants kept in home gardens. They are easy to grow and provide food for your family. Tomatoes do need to be cared for to grow.

The tomato is actually a fruit even though most people think of it as a vegetable. At one time, people thought it was poisonous to eat and they were only grown for decoration. They were originally referred to as "love apples". There are literally hundreds of varieties to choose from for your home garden and all of them have different size, color, shape, season of maturity, disease resistance and taste.

Tomatoes can be either determinate or indeterminate. Determinate means that they develop a flower cluster at the terminal growing point. The plant will stop growing at this height. Indeterminate plants do not form this flower cluster and will continue to grow taller indefinitely. Indeterminate tomatoes also produce very flavorful fruit, but are usually late to mature. Most of the older varieties of tomatoes are indeterminate. Determinate vines are easier to control but they also have ripe fruit for a shorter time period than indeterminate plants.

Tomatoes do not tolerate freezing temperatures, so it is best to plant them once the weather is warm. For adequate harvest room, you will need to space your plants apart. The spacing for each variety is different, however. For dwarf plants, they will need to be twelve inches apart in the row. Staked plants will need to be 15 to 24 inches apart. Some indeterminate varieties even need four feet of space between them in the rows and five to six feet in between rows.

When you plant your tomato plants, you should fertilize them right away. You can also cultivate shallowly or hoe to keep the weeds down without doing damage to the roots. Mulching is highly recommended, especially if you want to have your plant for the full season harvest. Organic materials or black plastic is okay to use for mulching. However, don't put down organic materials until the soil has warmed up all the way. If you put it down too early, the plant will not grow very well.

You will need to water your tomato plants regularly and thoroughly. If you are keeping your plants in containers they may need to be watered every day or even more. You will also need to feed your plants with a liquid tomato fertilizer once every two to three weeks until the end of August. The fertilizer should be high in potash. Once September arrives, just feed it with a regular fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. Weed around the plants as much as you can to prevent bugs and diseases from getting to your tomatoes. As the plant grows, you will also need to use stakes to support it. Tie the main stem to the stakes.

If you give this plant the care it needs, you will be rewarded with delicious tomatoes. Tomatoes are the best after they have just ripened so for the best taste eat them as soon as they are ripe. This is a great plant to keep at your home!

Visit for more great gardening tips.

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter


Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at


The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.

The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.

Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.

Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.

Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email to request permission.

Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.

Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.

Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.