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Old 03-01-2013, 08:43 AM   #3
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Re: Question about growing tomatoes

Originally Posted by 3lilbubs View Post
The reasons for not growing tomatoes in the same place repeatedly is 1. soil depletion and 2. disease. Most home gardeners don't need to worry as much about this. There's ways to combat it. You can start by making sure you pile compost on that bed before planting the tomatoes and regularly during the season. Tomatoes are nitrogen-hungry, so planting peas or beans in that spot either earlier in the season or after the tomatoes are pulled up will help naturally restore available nitrogen. Regarding disease, if it's there, it's not going to disappear if you plant them elsewhere. Disease can blow from miles away from another gardener's plot to yours so there's not a whole lot to do but responsibly manage it. The most common problems are fungal diseases in the soil reoccurring. Removing the leaves from the bottom of the plant a good 8-12" off the soil will prevent splash up from watering, as will thick mulch and black plastic. If you have a terrible problem with either of those things, I would work on improving the soil and in the meantime grow the tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets. But as I said, small home gardeners grow their tomatoes year in and out in the same spot and rarely have a problem if they tend to the soil.

ETA: use aged compost as green compost will further deplete the nitrogen stores in the soil in order to break down and could burn your plants if it contains animal manure.
Yes. We tend to plant our tomatoes in the same plot year after year. Now, we have tried the last two years to grow oats on the plots we are done with to "fix" the soil and it seems to work well. We didn't have any major issues, it was more of an experiment. It's easy, and doesn't hurt anything to do it.
Kat ~ Mum to G (11), D (9) and O (7)
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