Rescue Tomato Plants for a Fall Harvest

Rescue Tomato Plants

Do you live in a region with a long growing season? Are your tomatoes looking a little rough? Don’t give up quite yet. You might still be able to rescue tomato plants and enjoy a fall harvest.

First, look carefully for small sprouts of healthy green foliage and maybe a few blooms and small, green tomatoes. See any? If so, give your plant a second chance.

Here’s how to rescue tomato plants. (This technique is especially successful for early-maturing varieties, such as Early Girl, and for gardens in zone 7b and south, where tomatoes enjoy a long growing season.)

     -Trim off every dead stem and leaf; be careful not to cut any main stems leading to new growth. Put the dead material in a bag and get it out of the garden to avoid spreading disease.

     -Rake away old mulch and discard it, too.

     -Water thoroughly at the base of the plant; don’t wet the remaining foliage.

     -Give plants a boost with a liquid plant food such as Bonnie Herb, Vegetable & Flower Plant Food. Then sprinkle a little timed-release or organic granular fertilizer around the base of the plant (according to the rate on the label).

     -Refresh with new mulch.

     -Spray the foliage and stems with hydrophobic oil of Neem, which acts as a fungicide, insecticide,

Rescue Tomato Plantsand miticide. You’ll have to read the fine print on the label to find this name, but it should be in the organic product section of your favorite garden center. Its multiple purposes and natural source fuel favor among gardeners. In humid climates, you may also need to use a spray of copper or Daconil, which are fungicides that fight many tomato problems.

Now keep the plant watered; wait and see. By now, your plant has a well-developed root system, so if it is still healthy, you may be surprised at how quickly it fills back out and yields a new crop of tomatoes for fall. Your tomato has until the first frost to ripen its new crop and will be a little slower in the cool days of fall.

How has your vegetable garden grown this year? We’d love to hear from you! Please post your questions or comments in the box below or contact your neighborhood Norwich Agway today!

-Article and images provided courtesy of

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