Posted: 07/09/2013 at 06:26
Congrats, mias, they're wonderful San Marzanos. Best sauce tomato you can get. They're the ones in the top quality imported Italian tinned toms. You struck it lucky avoiding any BER at all!
Growing toms in the ground - indoors or outdoors - is pretty simple. Don't overload the soil with nutrients, toms aren't big feeders. Good healthy soil will do the job.
I grow mine outdoors in the same bed every year. I just refresh the soil by digging in some top quality potting mix, some home compost, and a couple of handfuls of pelleted chook poo. That's it. The pH should be slightly on the acid side.
The big advantage of growing in the ground - even in a greenhouse - is that the roots have the room to go in search of moisture. Infrequent, very deep watering will encourage the roots down deep where, in hot weather, the soil is cooler. So it's a good idea to dig the soil down to 18" or more during preparation.
Here, where the temps sit in the high 30s and low 40s, I don't water more often than about every three days, but I water very very deeply. If your temps don't get that high, providing you water deeply, you shouldn't need to water more than once a week.
The plants will tell you when they need water. In hot weather, they will often droop during the day. That's no guide. Check them at night after the heat of the day has passed. If they've perked up again, they're fine. If they're still drooping, water deeply. Watering by need is far better than watering by rote.
Fertilise a couple of weeks after planting out, again when the first fruit sets, then a couple more times spaced out over the growing season. That's all they need.