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[Tomato Dirt #147] How and When to Mulch Tomatoes - and With What
May 05, 2018

Tomato Dirt Newsletter
Volume 8, Number 12

Dear Tomato Dirt reader,

Welcome back to Tomato Dirt! A few times a month, we’ll send you this newsletter packed with tips about growing tomatoes and using them.

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FEATURE: How and When to Mulch Tomatoes - and With What

There’s no question … tomato mulch definitely improves the number, size, and healthy of your tomato crop. Yet the good news is there is no one best type of mulch to use. Select one that works best for your situation. Follow these simple do’s and don’ts for how and when to mulch tomatoes.

Do this:

  • Do compare different options here: grass clippings, shredded hardwood mulch, newspaper, black plastic, red plastic, garden fabric … even no mulch. If you want to improve your soil, choose an organic mulch. If you want to reuse your ground covering, choose one of the plastics. If you have almost no money, try several layers of newspaper. Choose the option that’s best for your situation.
  • Do leave about 1-2" breathing room around the tomato stem, forming a small well around the base of the plant. This prevents compaction around the stem, which could lead to stem rot. Also, the well creates a natural dish to capture water for your plant.
  • Do apply extra mulch in the rows between your tomatoes to keep weeds down.

Don’t do this:

  • Don’t mulch immediately after planting tomatoes. Wait until the soil has warmed – about 3-5 weeks after setting plants in the garden. Tomatoes like heat. If you mulch too soon, you’ll trap in the cold.
  • Don’t panic if you haven’t mulched your tomatoes. Sure, mulching helps keep in heat and moisture, keeps down weeds, and helps produce healthier fruit. But many a gardener has grown luscious tomatoes successfully without it.
If you have a favorite kind of tomato mulch or mulching tip, share about it here so other gardeners can benefit. And get more info here about how and when to mulch your tomatoes.

Find out more tips and how-tos for mulching your tomato plants … and be sure to check out our Mulching Tomatoes board on Pinterest for more ideas about mulching tomatoes.

Best Tips for Growing Tomatoes

The world's number one tomato Bible. Advice on 1300 varieties, soil preparation, pruning; and extensive help with pests and diseases from a leading industry expert to help you have the biggest, tastiest crop ever.

Tomato Growing Book

Tomato Growing Tip: Red Plastic Mulch – Is It Legit?

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Get more tips for growing tomatoes on our Tomato Growing Tips Pinterest board.

Different Ways to Mulch Tomatoes

icon icon icon
Pro-Weed Mat Weed Barrier icon Red Plastic Tomato Mulch (roll 2 ft x 3 ft) icon 20-Year Weed Shield weed barrier icon

More about Mulching Tomato Plants

What’s the Best Mulch for Mulching Tomatoes? Benefits and Drawbacks to Using Black Plastic Mulch Review: Biodegradable Weed Mats

Red Plastic Mulch for Tomatoes: Does It Make a Difference?

That’s it for now. More next time.

Until then, happy gardening!

Kathy with Tomato Dirt
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