'Tomatomania' offers tips, tricks to growing varieties of tomatoes

CULVER CITY, Calif. (KABC) -- Yellow pear to Verlon, farmer Scott Daigre said there are now 7,000 tomato varieties to choose from, and you can find about 100 at "Tomatomania."

"Tomatomania is a tomato seedling sale. It's the world's largest heirloom tomato seedling sale. It's been around in Southern California over the last 25 years," Daigre said.

Tomatomania originated at the now closed Hortus Nursery in Pasadena. Scott and partners hold Tomatomania events from San Diego to Sonoma to get people growing.

Need help with your growing plan? Daigre said too much water and fertilizer are the biggest mistakes.

"They are are greedy weeds and they'll use everything," Daigre said.

Start with well-amended soil, plant deep, removing bottom tendrils. Be careful not to allow leaves to rest on soil.

"There's a lot of little hairs on that stem that turn into roots quite readily. When they do, they offer that plant more nutrient absorption," Daigre said.

For water, think deep and infrequent. Let them struggle a bit. Believe it or not, your tomato plant wants to be hot, but not the roots, which is why burlap growing pots are a cool idea.

"The roots want to be cool that's why they go so deep into the soil," Daigre said.

That's because most people put clay pots on concrete or stone patios so plants fry from reflective heat. Burlap or paper pots help insulate plant roots.

Tomatomania is at Surfas, Thursday and Friday, then it's up to Santa Barbara.

Now's the time grab a plant and use the helpful pointers to start your garden.
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