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10 Eco-friendly products for growing great tomatoes

Anyone who has ever grown their own tomatoes knows what a delight it is to sink your teeth into the ripe red fruit, picked at its prime. Unfortunately, tomatoes can sometimes be a challenge to grow as diseases, pests, and poor soil conditions can put a quick end to your tomatoes.

To resolve these problems, many gardeners look towards the quick and easy solution of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides. While these products work in most cases, they aren’t necessarily the healthiest option for you and your family. After all, why would you want to put chemicals on something that you’re going to eat?

If you’re looking to grow first class tomatoes without these potentially harmful products, you may want to consider some of these 10 environmentally friendly fertilizers, pesticides, and tomato growing gadgets. These products are safe for you and your family and will help you get an extra edge on growing big fat juicy tomatoes. Keep in mind that some of these items will work for many other plants in your garden as well!

1. Organic Tomato Fertilizer:

An organic tomato fertilizer is just the thing to give your tomatoes an extra boost and get them growing strong. We recommend organic fertilizers over chemical fertilizers as they are typically just as effective and pose no health risk to you, your family, or your pets.

This fertilizer is especially designed for tomatoes, and with one five pound bag you can treat a garden plot that is about 150 square feet in size. This is more than enough for the average home gardener. Tomato-tone works great for tomatoes that are growing both in containers and in your garden plot.

When using Tomato-tone, all you have to do is apply the fertilizer to the soil and work it in to at least 5 inches deep before you plant your tomatoes. Once the plants are established, you can give them supplemental feedings by adding a couple of teaspoons to each plant twice a month.

2. Topsy Turvy Upside Down Tomato Planter:

Ever thought of growing your tomatoes upside down? That’s exactly what you can do with the Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter. Why would you want to grow your tomatoes this way? Because this unique growing system eliminates the need for tomato cages, tying, and staking, and cuts maintenance time in half.

You control the soil mixture, so your plants are less susceptible to diseases, and as your plants are off the ground, most pests can’t get to them! Additionally, you won’t have to worry about digging a hole, cultivating, or even weeding. There is no place for weeds to take hold, so they’re never really a problem.

If you're not convinced, you should know that the Topsy Turvy planter won one of Time Magazine’s "Amazing Inventions" awards for 2005. Not only does it work great for tomatoes, you can also grow peppers, cucumbers, and a variety of veggies or flowers. Also, if you have little to no space for gardening in your home, the Topsy Turvy planter is a perfect solution, as it fits on most patios and decks.

3. Upside Down Tomato Planter with Stand:

This upside down tomato planter is another terrific choice for growing tomatoes or other vegetables. It comes with a built-in stand, so you don't have to look for a place to hang it.

4. Organic Insecticide:

Tomatoes are unfortunately very attractive to a variety of bugs. In many cases you can pick the large ones off with your fingers. But if you have a serious problem with pests, you’ll probably want to use some sort of spray to help control them. Gardeners all over the world have found that natural citrus-based insecticides will kill off most of the pests you’re likely to see munching on your tomatoes.

SharpShooter Organic Insecticide is a tried and true spray designed to kill most common garden pests, including cut worms, caterpillars, snails, slugs, aphids, bean beetles, cabbage loopers, earwigs, flea beetles, Japanese beetles, leafhoppers, mealybugs, mites, rose chafers, scales, and adult whiteflies. It is even safe enough to use indoors if you happen to have other plants growing in containers that you’d like to treat.

5. Self Watering Planter:

Tomatoes in the hot sun often need a lot of watering, and a self watering planter helps you reduce trips with the hose or the watering can.

A self watering planter also helps with keeping an even amount of moisture in the container, so that you don't over or under water and hurt your tomatoes.

They work great with flowers, other vegetables, and even with houseplants too.

6. Soil Tester:

If your tomatoes are struggling and you don’t see any signs of pests or diseases, chances are you have a problem with your soil conditions. The best way to treat the problem is to identify what’s wrong and correct your soil accordingly. For example, your plants may not be healthy if you have improper soil pH or poor drainage. An electronic soil tester is a great little gadget that will easily diagnose the problem and let you know when you’ve got your soil just right. Multipurpose soil testers are easy to use and usually include readings like soil pH, soil moisture, total combined nitrogen and phosphorus levels, and potash levels. They’ll also tell you the intensity of the light hitting your plants so you’ll know if it’s too shady or too intense. Once you have the proper pH, nutrient levels, drainage, and light levels, your tomatoes will be able to efficiently make use of water and the nutrients in the soil. This will make them less susceptible to diseases and pests, and will save you time and energy taking care of them.

7. Circle Hoe:

Weeding is never a fun chore, but it is critical to the health of your tomatoes. Weeds compete with your tomatoes for water and nutrients, and can often host pests and disease.

A hand circle hoe is an excellent tool that is designed to remove even the most stubborn weeds by the roots. Even if the plants are close together, the circle hoe is designed to allow you to work around individual plants without damaging them. In addition to removing weeds, the circle hoe will work the soil for you, and unlike traditional hoes, it will leave the soil in place after you’ve picked up the weed. If you have containers or raised beds, the circle hoe works great as well!

8. Hot Pepper Wax:

Hot pepper wax is a great way to organically repel animal pests like squirrels, while also repelling insects like aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, leafhoppers, etc.

9. Tomato Cage:

Tomato cages are a very useful tool to keep your tomatoes from becoming too spindly and sprawling. This unusual Vegetable and Tomato Cage will keep your plants supported and growing strong. However, it's not what you’d think of as a traditional tomato cage. It's designed as a series of concentric circles that collapses into a coil. When you place the cage on top of a stake and attach it to ground, the tomato plant grows and supports itself on the rings. Although it is quite flexible, once the plant fills out, the structure becomes rigid because of the weight and volume of the plant. All you really need to do is guide the vines of your tomato plant through the coils as they grow so that they fill inside the space of the cage. After your tomato plant is mature, you’ll find that the tomato is growing lush, full, and strong.

10. Organic Liquid Tomato Fertilizer:

This OMRI listed liquid organic tomato fertilizer will help you grow big, healthy and delicious tomatoes.

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