Effect of pH on Tomatoes - Knowledgebase Question

Alpha, MN
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Question by dtjones
October 28, 1997
Does the pH of the soil effect the growth of tomato plants? It is possible to grow them in the winter inside? If so where can I buy some?

Answer from NGA
October 28, 1997
Yes, pH does affect the growth of all plants, including tomatoes. One of the ways pH affects plant growth is that some plant nutrients become unavailable above or below a certain pH; in other words, the nutrient becomes bound up in complex molecules--a form that plants can't take in. For example, at a high pH, iron becomes unavailable to most plants; at a low pH, calcium is bound up. Most garden plants, including tomatoes, prefer a pH of around 6.5.

You can grow tomatoes indoors, provided you can give them the conditions they need: high light levels, warm temperatures, and adequate water and nutrients. It's possible to get tomatoes to fruit under fluorescent lights--but don't expect a huge harvest.

It will be difficult to find tomato seedlings this time of year; why not grow your own? That way, you can choose your variety--I suggest you try one like 'Tumbler' which is bred for container-growing.

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