Growing Healthier Tomato Plants

How well tomatoes grow depends on how the plants are mulched and fertilized.

By Emily Sohn, 00:00 AM July 9, 2004

If you've ever tried to grow your own flowers or vegetables, you know that gardening is an art as much as it is a science. The science part just took a step forward, at least for tomatoes.

The way a tomato plant grows depends on how a farmer mulches and fertilizes it, say researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They've uncovered some unexpected details about the biochemistry that goes into producing the juicy red fruit.

These photos show two fields of Sunbeam tomatoes planted at the same time and photographed on the same day. Tomatoes with black plastic around the plants and given standard doses of fertilizer (left) developed more leaf disease and aged faster than the sa

These photos show two fields of Sunbeam tomatoes planted at t...

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