Sowing cover crops: a way to achieve a bountiful tomato harvest

By Andrii MaistrenkoJun 15, 2024 09:08 AMGarden
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A way to achieve a bountiful tomato harvest
A way to achieve a bountiful tomato harvest. Source: www.mercurynews.com

To achieve a plentiful tomato harvest, gardeners suggest adopting the practice of spring sowing green manure, which can significantly enhance the yield of vegetable crops. These green fertilizers not only enhance the soil but also inhibit weed growth, enrich the soil with essential nutrients specific to each plant, and shield it from pests.

To optimize tomato growth, it's advisable to plant suitable cover crops before transplanting tomato seedlings. SSPDaily outlined the options recommended by seasoned gardeners.

Ideal green manure for tomatoes

Experienced experts suggest that tomatoes develop better and produce higher yields when planted after mustard, vetch, or phacelia. Some gardeners also sow oats.

Mustard has been proven to be highly effective in controlling the dreaded tomato disease known as Phytophthora infestans, caused by fungal infection. Its deep roots, which extend up to three meters, prevent soil compaction, offering an additional benefit for garden beds.

Phacelia acts as a soil deoxidizer, crucial for tomatoes, which do not thrive in acidic soil. Upon decomposition, phacelia creates a fertile environment conducive to robust tomato root development.

According to scientists, the best cover crop for tomatoes is vetch, which enriches the soil with a significant amount of biomass and nitrogen. It's noteworthy that tomatoes grown with vetch as a cover crop didn't require additional fertilization, resulting in generous yields.

Optimal time for sowing cover crops

Sowing cover crops should be done no later than two weeks before planting tomato seedlings in the ground. During this period, cover crops should reach a height of 20-30 cm. At this stage, they can be mowed and subsequently incorporated into the soil.

Moreover, some gardeners practice growing tomatoes directly alongside cover crops in prepared beds. They claim that this method helps shield the beds from excessive heat and dehydration, enhances soil structure, and creates a barrier against pests and diseases.

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