How to Grow Better Boy Tomatoes

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Are you wondering how to grow Better Boy tomatoes? If you have a vegetable garden or are thinking of starting one, growing tomatoes (​Lycopersicon esculentum​, USDA zones 10-11) is likely on your list. If you're looking for a cultiva rthat has flavorful, all-purpose fruits, a tomato called Better Boy could be the perfect choice. An indeterminate plant that keeps growing all season long, this plant thrives in strong light and good garden soil, with just a little extra care ensuring a heavy yield. Tomatoes are grown as annuals in all parts of the United States, although they're also tender perennial in zones 10-11.


Grow Better Boy Tomatoes: Planting

Sow Better Boy seeds indoors about six or eight weeks before you expect outdoor temperatures to stay above 45 degrees Fahrenheit at night, using moist sterile potting soil or soil-less mix in a seed starting tray. Cover seeds with 1/8 inch of mix and, once seedlings appear, keep them in a sunny spot or under grow lights. You can also buy seedlings at a garden center but, in either case, harden plants off for a week or two by gradually increasing their exposure to outdoor air and light.


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Space Better Boy seedlings 2 to 3 feet apart, with 4 feet between rows. Remove the bottom two leaves from each plant and plant in a deep hole, so that these leaf nodes are covered by soil. Planting deep encourages rooting from the stem, making a well-seated plant.

Sun, Soil and Water

Better Boy tomatoes thrive and fruit heavily when grown in a spot that gets full sun, with six hours of sun a minimum for good results. They also need fertile soil, ideally amended with organic matter such as compost.


Water the seedlings in well and then water evenly during the season, aiming for about 1 inch of water each week, including rain. To prevent fungal problems, water early on sunny days so plants dry quickly, and use a soaker hose or drip irrigation to help keep foliage dry.

Feeding and Pruning

It takes about 70 days to get the first ripe Better Boy tomatoes, but fertilizing the plants is important for a good harvest. Start applying fertilizer when the first fruits are about 1 inch in diameter, and then fertilize again when harvest begins. Use a low-nitrogen formula such as 5-10-5, side-dressing each plant with about 1/2 cup of the granular fertilizer, but turn the fertilizer into the soil gently to avoid disturbing roots.


Better Boy is an indeterminate cultivar that grows all season long, so it benefits from pruning to maximize fruiting and keep its size under control. As the plant grows, allow only one or two main stems to grow and remove suckers, the shoots appearing just above where each leaf originates, to funnel the plant's energy into fruiting, using pruning shears that you wipe with rubbing alcohol between cuts to prevent the potential spread of disease. Also, help the plant produce the last ripe fruits by cutting back its fruitless top near the end of summer.


Support and Possible Problems

Better Boy is a heavy producer, with individual fruits weighing up to 1 pound each, so these plants benefit from support while growing. Either drive a sturdy stake into the ground, using soft ties to attach the stem to the stake at intervals, or use a commercial tomato cage for support, tying the plant to its wire as needed.


These plants are susceptible to fungal diseases and fruit cracking disorders, but ensuring constant, even moisture and giving plants lots of space on well-drained soil helps avoid these problems. They can attract pests such as large green hornworms and striped potato beetles, which can be hand-picked, and aphids, which are best controlled by washing plants with a strong water stream.




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