Teenager Maters: Three (No, Four) Important Mid-Season Tomato Plant Applications

Okay fellow gardeners, here we are about mid growing season.  If you are like me, you are beginning to see a few garden woes and foes. 
We have had a rainy planting season which made for some good tomato blooms. Those first blasts of blooms are now in a full force growing spell.  This is so exciting! But with the hotter summer growth comes a few garden maintenance items. I am not real savvy on gardens in regions other than my own, but if you are in region 6-8 these things should all apply to your garden as well.
Tie Up Tomatoes:
Most everyone's tomatoes are tall enough to be tied up by now, so if you planted before June and you have not begun to tie, stake, or cage your tomatoes, you better get on it pronto.  This year I used bamboo poles and jute. It has not been a total fail, but it has not proven to be as successful as I was hoping for, therefore I have decided to try a different method next year. Hmm...any suggestions?


Fortify Nutrients in Soil:

At planting time hopefully you amended your soil to the recommended ph of whatever you planned to grow. My target ph was between 6.5-7.0 since that is the basic recommendation for most veggies and definitely tomatoes. My baby 'maters have been living off that soil for two months now. I fertilize with rabbit pellets to keep the nitrogen up, but what about calcium, manganese and other nutrients that a good dose of miracle grow provides? Time for straight up eggshells! Eggshells are full of calcium and other much needed agents that tiring soil can benefit from. In this picture the shells have been crushed and thrown at the base of the tomato plants, but I also scratch them in a bit too.  I love eggshells!  I really do need a few chickens, but that's another day, another bloggity! 

Mulch:

Let's be honest, by now weeding the garden is not near as exciting as it was in May and June. It's July. The days are long and the sun is hot! Okra loves the heat and the long dry days, but typically people do not.  Deeply mulching the okra keeps it nice and toasty, supports the plant stalk and keeps the weeds down. I use straw to mulch because I always have plenty left over from my bunny hutch. This is a good time to go ahead and add straw to the tomatoes as well. It helps keep the weeds down, and will compost nicely into the soil after the season. 

Stick with Bug Brew, go easy on the neem oil:
The picture above is of the hated little flea beetle that took up feasting on my potato plants at the first of the season.  I used several things to help keep these pesky little critters at bay.  I made Wicked Bug Brew at the beginning of the season and it was pretty darn successful at controlling them, but for a more constant control method, neem oil is a great organic way to go.  Neem actually kills beetles, bugs, stinkers, and aphids.  But as the season progresses and the days get longer and hotter, it's actually easier on the plants to go back to the bug brew. The neem oil is heavier than the brew and actually is accumulative in the plants cells. That in itself is not a bad thing but can begin to choke your plants if used too frequently. If you have not made your bug brew yet, get to it. You will be glad you did! 

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