The pride of any vegetable garden is a flawless tomato, plump and ready to burst with flavor. Countless tomato varieties provide diversity of color, size and flavor, as well as disease-resistance and harvest period. One tomato, "Husky Red," pleases on many fronts. Its care is similar to that of most tomatoes.
"Husky Red" Characteristics
"Husky Red" is a hybrid that produces ready-to-pick tomatoes in 68 days. The large fruits grow on dwarf plants, making the variety useful where space is limited or container culture is desired. Because "Husky Red" is indeterminate -- it continues to produce fruit throughout the season -- the yield for each plant can be high. "Husky Red" is labeled VF, meaning it's resistant to Verticillium and Fusarium wilts. In the Husky family are "Husky Gold" and "Husky Pink," similar to their red sibling.
Let the Sun Shine In
All tomatoes require full sun; eight hours or more is ideal. Shorter sun exposure results in reduced harvests. Plant any tomato so it's not shaded in the morning and evening by neighboring plants. This is especially important for shorter varieties, such as "Husky Red," because taller varieties can easily shade them. Plant shorter varieties on the south side of the vegetable garden with the taller varieties behind them. Container gardening allows you to move the plant from sunny spot to sunny spot, as needed.
No Soil Too Good
To say that tomatoes require moist, well-drained soil is an understatement. Soil rich in organic matter, such as garden compost and well-rotted cow manure, contains lots of nutrients that feed tomatoes all season long. Organic matter also helps retain and drain water, creating the consistent moisture needed to grow large, crack-free tomatoes. Good soil also holds and releases added nutrients from fertilizer. An inch or so of pine straw or shredded bark keeps the soil moist and protects the roots from sun and wind.
A Few Tips
Water tomatoes when the top of the soil is dry. Alternating periods of dry and wet soil results in inconsistent cell growth that can crack the large fruits of "Husky Red" and make it vulnerable to pests and disease. Container-grown plants require more attention to watering. Tomatoes are heavy feeders, so scratch 3 tablespoons of 10-10-10 fertilizer into the mulch every three to six weeks. Because Husky is short, it is easily splashed by rainwater and irrigation. Cage plants to keep them upright and water at ground level to prevent soil-borne disease.
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