You should also have tomato plants situated in an area that is easily accessible to water. I've got some that are going on six foot. Plant outside only after all danger of frost has passed. Someone please help me this is my first time trying my hand at gardening. There are other things but that is the first that comes to mind. Robin has been a contributor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac and the All-Seasons Garden Guide for many years. Submitted by Robin Sweetser on June 13, 2020 - 4:27pm. Tips For Growing Great Tomatoes 1. Tomatoes are available to buy as young plants, but if you’d like to try some of the more unusual varieties it’s worth growing tomatoes from seed. Although seeds can be directly sown in the garden and plants can be grown to maturity in warm areas, most successful tomato gardeners buy transplants or start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before their average last frost date. Unless you are growing them in a greenhouse, your best option is to use some type of artificial plant lighting for 14 to 18 hours every day. Tomatoes prefer temperatures between 50 degrees F and 90 degrees F and since most varieties require a long growing season, starting indoors will allow you to get the most from your harvests. Fewer leaves will mean fewer sweet tomatoes. Also, make sure your tomatoes aren’t too crowded so the sunshine can reach their lower leaves. What is consider too cold? This is the most important nutrient for fruit production. I have a pine tree over my garden and the pine needles fall in the garden what will they do to the garden and what should I put in the garden to solve the problem. Choose a calm, cloudy day to transplant your tomato seedlings. Dig into soil about 1 foot deep and mix in aged manure or compost. It takes 6-8 weeks to grow a 4 to 6 inch transplant. Submitted by Robin Sweetser on July 2, 2017 - 9:40pm. Because these leaves sit close to the ground, soilborne pathogens can easily splash up onto them. Unfortunately, there are few vegetables that are prone to more problems than tomatoes. Water the flat in carefully (some gardeners soak the flat in a tray of water). Submitted by harold raby on June 23, 2015 - 7:12pm. Custom programming and server maintenance by, See our article on avoiding blight with the right tomato, Read more about choosing the right tomato variety, Read our Mulching Guide for more information, Learn more about tomato diseases and disorders. Both are indeterminant varieties, meaning that they will continue to grow until weather, or something else, kills them. My tomatoes are about 5-7 feet tall each also. Frank, when I blanch my tomatoes I find the entire tomato gets warm. 4. Each tomato contains a lot of seeds. Tomatoes will attract pest and disease but if you keep your eye out for them, you can avoid many problems. Overpruning can cause sunscald—a yellow sunburned patch that eventually blisters. Additionally, harden off … If so, it could be collecting there, causing the rot. Submitted by Robin Sweetser on May 14, 2018 - 5:19pm. Why would my tomato plant leaves suddenly turn silver and the plant start dying? Tomato plants are the most popular vegetable grown in modern gardens. Tomatoes thrive in rich, well-draining, slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.5 to 6.8. They should be producing until winter, but now I'm gonna have to get rid of the dead plants and make a second crop and I really want to try and prevent the moth from doing as much damage. Submitted by Ron Hulen on June 30, 2015 - 1:38pm. We are in the process of picking our tomatoes and was wondering if blanching them to remove the skins has any effect on the seeds? Now, thanks to my Nan, we have some great ways to speed up the ripening of toms… and it’s so simple! Tomates LOVE the Sun. It also happens if the temperatures are too high - over 90 or too low - under 55. This extra root growth will produce a stronger, more robust plant. In researching your question I found that along with potassium banana peels also contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and sodium - all elements that are necessary for good plant growth and fruiting. I usually only do that near the end of the season if there are lots of green tomatoes and I want the plant to concentrate on ripening them instead of making more fruit. Submitted by Emily on May 19, 2017 - 10:34am, My tomato plants have a vine formation on there leaves but are blooming and have fruits looks nice and green, Submitted by Jane Axtell on July 23, 2016 - 8:45pm. I am worried because there are brown extensions from the bottom of the fruit. Submitted by GAIL WILLIS on August 8, 2020 - 7:59am, I have tomatoes galore but they are green and not rippening am i inpatient or is there something i am doing wrong, Submitted by Robin Sweetser on August 11, 2020 - 10:18am. But that's all we have...plants! Should I just pick the fruit while green and store till ripened? If you are starting tomatoes from seed, give the seedlings plenty of room to branch out. Yes, that means thinning the seedlings to one strong plant per cell or small pot. Days are short during winter, so even placing them near a sunny window may not provide them with sufficient natural light. Submitted by Robin Sweetser on June 27, 2018 - 10:43am. The best tasting tomatoes are the ones you grow yourself! Learn more about tomato diseases and disorders. Oddly enough, red plastic has been found to increase fruiting by 12 to 20%. Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable to grow in the home garden, and there’s nothing quite like sliced tomatoes on a sandwich when picked fresh from the garden. If your seedlings were grown indoors or in a greenhouse, do not just go outside and set them in the cool ground. It sounds like too much nitrogen. Submitted by Frank Cannamela on June 7, 2020 - 8:50am. Too much nitrogen will cause lush foliage growth but give you little or no fruit. I have Early Girl Tomatoes and Jet star Tomatoes. Pay attention to soil moisture and try to keep it even, about an inch or two a week. It could be insect damage or sunburn. Submitted by S Renee on June 23, 2015 - 9:28am. With leggy transplants, dig a trench and lay the stem sideways, bending gently upward. They won’t bear fruit and will take energy away from the rest of the plant. Our Growing Tomatoes Guide covers everything from planting through harvesting! Julie Thompson-Adolf is a master gardener and author with 13+ years of experience with year-round organic gardening, seed starting and saving, growing heirloom plants, perennials, and annuals, and sustainable and urban farming. Tomatoes will grow in shady areas but they will struggle to produce fruit there. While all the tips on this list will help you finally find success with growing tomatoes, there are two that are of the utmost importance. Blossom drop often occurs if they are not getting pollinated. If they can be brushed off without damaging the fruit, do it. some tomatoes are totally ruined. Use a pot that is very deep, at least the size of a 5 gallon bucket. They are heat-lovers. Create a breeze by turning a fan on them for five to 10 minutes, twice a day. When you have several cold nights in a row you may want to pull the plants up with the attached tomatoes and hang the plants upside down in the garage or a shed. Will the plants produce additional blossoms or do I need to start over with new plants? Submitted by Ripcord on June 26, 2015 - 1:36am. STEP 4: Do not forget about liquid nutrients. Please I need help?! When you do plant tomatoes, plant a little deeper than they come in the pot, all the way up to the top few leaves! Submitted by Robin Sweetser on June 27, 2015 - 5:44pm. It's not much bigger than when I bought it. Tomato plants need to move and sway in the breeze to develop strong stems. Understanding Blossom End Rot on Tomatoes, Identifying and Controlling Septoria Leaf Spot. Cedar chippings tend to be especially heavy versus cedar shavings. If your indeterminates are reaching for the stars, you can top them above the highest blossoms to keep them in bounds and encourage green fruit to ripen. Submitted by Jessica Birmingham on June 29, 2017 - 9:18am. Also, some of my flowers are starting to turn spotty black. I usually get a good crop, barring disasters, but I do a lot of work. It shouldn't be a problem getting determinate tomatoes (those that ripen all at once) to set fruit unless weather conditions are unfavorable and cause a condition aptly named "blossom drop. They won't really start to grow until both the soil and air temperatures remain warm. Plant your tomato plants deeper than they come in the pot, all the way up to the top few leaves. The trick to growing great-tasting tomatoes is to choose the best varieties, start the plants off right, and control problems before they happen. Snip the weaker, smaller seedlings in favor of the best grower. The article I read said to terminate the plant. If you are not going to leave plastic on the soil, hold off on putting down mulch until after the ground has had a chance to warm up. Soak one part organic compost in one part water, let sit for 24 hours, filter the “tea,” and use to nourish plants. Irregular watering—missing a week and trying to make up for it—leads to blossom end rot (a calcium deficiency) and cracking and splitting. Basil and marigolds act as a natural insect repellent when planted amongst tomatoes, helping to ward off whitefly. Water the roots (tomatoes hate their leaves staying wet!) I've got stakes but an wondering if it would be more efficient to start doing this? Here are six steps to growing healthy, productive, tomato plants: I will even sometimes crumble the flowers to keep those horned worms away. i have these bugs that i can only describe as looking like transformers...they are a geometric shape with long legs, they fly and they are stinging my tomatoes. So what can be done to help promote tomatoe blossoms when the soil has too much nitrogen? Thanks! Some tomato plants have what is called a wilty gene that causes them to curl but not usually into a tube shape. For tomatoes, sunshine is like water and they’ll soak it up and produce more fruit! I grow mostly heirloom indeterminate plants. Use your judgment. Otherwise, if there is no rot associated with it, I’d just leave them on and let nature take its course. The excess foliage shades the fruit and insulates it from summer heat, making it ripen more slowly and improving the taste. Be careful not to plant tomatoes in the ground too soon. I haven’t experienced the frustrations as much as others, but I also have been lucky to have tomato growing tips, advice, and the wisdom from my Grandparents, Parents, Aunts, and Uncles passed down to me. You can use a measuring device like a sun calculator or go outdoors to inspect the amount of sunlight the location receives during the day. You are not doing anything wrong! Pinch and remove suckers that develop in the crotch joint of two branches. I have read, and it seems to work, that you should pinch off all growing tips about a month from your first frost, and also pinch out any that form afterwards. I let my plants grow much taller than 6 feet high before I even think about topping them. To ensure the tomato plants grow stocky, not spindly, keep the young plants only a couple of inches from fluorescent grow lights. You will need to raise the lights (or lower the plants) as the seedlings grow. Submitted by Renata Sousa on June 23, 2015 - 11:14am. Submitted by Hope Howard on May 21, 2017 - 10:53am, This is my first year with a decent crop of tomatoes, YAY! The rule of thumb is to ensure your plants get at least 1 inch of water per week, but during hot, dry spells, they may need more. Submitted by steve on July 25, 2017 - 9:27am. I have a big beef tomato plant. Check tomato plants daily for any ripe produce; picking often will encourage more production. Too much nitrogen is a tough situation to remedy quickly. Whatever it is it sounds very prolific! Growing tomatoes is easy when you have all the tips and tools to find success. Why Do the Ends of My Tomatoes Stay Green? After temperatures remain warm, both during the day and at night, you can add a layer of mulch to retain moisture. BONUS: You’ll also receive our Almanac Companion newsletter! When you're ready to plant them outside, choose the sunniest part of your vegetable garden as their location. Bring plants under cover if temperatures threaten to drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. As the plants fill out, the bottom leaves get the least amount of sun and airflow. In outdoor gardening, tomatoes grow best in greenhouses, so make sure to put the domes on. Ladybugs and praying mantis eggs can be bought at some gardening centers and online. Days are short during winter, so even placing them near a sunny window may not provide them with sufficient natural light. Growing tomatoes indoors will allow you to produce fresh, flavorful tomatoes throughout the winter months. Tomato plants are almost always set out in the garden as transplants. Is there any advice you can give me regarding the tomato leaf miner (tuta absoluta)? Get inspired by Robin Sweetser’s backyard gardening tips and tricks. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. Submitted by Paul Liebertz on February 19, 2019 - 6:07pm, Hi... Back in '72 while renting in San Diego, I had a tomato plant that I learned had leaf miner. Find the best location. Some of my tomato plants are doing great others are wilting and the leaves are rolling up like a tube shape. If all this advice seems daunting, take heart: Tomatoes are really one of the easiest vegetables to grow, and even the worst home-grown tomato tastes better than a store-bought one. Submitted by Robin Sweetser on June 27, 2015 - 5:40pm. Tomatoes annually rank as North America’s #1 home garden crop. Submitted by John Spencer on April 15, 2018 - 3:41am. Start here with some time-tested tomato growing tips to ensure your tomato bragging rights this year. Grab 10 or so green tomatoes, and pop them in a paper bag with a banana (not too ripe… that would spoil it). If the soil is dry, then you need to water. Submitted by Shubham Pai on June 25, 2015 - 3:07pm. Submitted by The Editors on June 23, 2017 - 11:34am. Pruning also affects flavor. If you must fertilize, side-dress the plants with compost or a dose of liquid seaweed or fish emulsion. If you want to grow the best tomatoes on the block, this simple 10-step plan will give you an impressive harvest every. Mix in some organic plant fertilizer that is formulated for tomatoes (such as Tomato Tone) into the hole. Here at the Almanac, we practically invented modern companion planting, following in the footsteps of Native American growing techniques. We have several german johnson and several purple cherokee plants. Transplant tomato seedlings into their own 4-inch pots shortly after they get their first set of true leaves. Tips for Growing Tomatoes in Containers Overview. As you grow your tomatoes, you may run into some problems. That happens naturally outdoors, but if you start your seedlings inside, you need to provide some type of air circulation. Tomatoes' ripening is pretty much at the mercy of the weather, but sometimes we can help things along. Submitted by Robin Sweetser on July 25, 2016 - 6:51pm, Submitted by Valencia Boykin on October 16, 2015 - 3:37am. Two weeks before planting your tomato plants outdoors, beef up that soil! Determinate tomatoes are the easiest tomato plants to grow in a container garden. I resisted, and began removing any leaf that showed signs of leaf miner. What Are Determinate and Indeterminate Tomatoes? Submitted by The Editors on May 20, 2020 - 12:40pm. Here’s a secret. You can either dig a deep hole or simply dig a shallow trench and lay the plant sideways. I’d grow a garden just to grow my own tomatoes. It may be uneven moisture issue that mulching can correct. How to grow tomatoes from seeds or plants successfully! Plant seedlings (small plant) 30 to 48 inches apart, with rows set 48 inches apart. Most of our tomatoes are heirloom and we need to save the seeds. Note: You definitely do not want to prune determinate varieties or you will have only a few fruit clusters. Unpruned plants yield about twice as much fruit as pruned ones do, but it will take longer for the fruit to ripen. I see by the other questions/comments on this site that I have experienced "tomato blossom drop". 1. Does it harm my tomatoes? My husband came home with several bags of Cedar mulch. I have the plants in sturdy cages with a 6 foot rebar to stabilize it against strong winds. So, your call! When I was a beginning gardener I planted the tomatoes and left them alone in a sunny field. If the leaves are curled and yellow, a virus is at work. Conditions that are either too cool and moist or too hot and dry can cause leaves to curl upward. Pruned plants bear earlier and have larger tomatoes, but they also have fewer tomatoes. A soaker hose is an efficient solution; just position the hose in the garden and pile mulch up and over the hose. Mulch with pine bark or sawdust to increase soil acidity and encourage micro-organisms that use up nitrogen as they decompose the wood fiber. After your tomato plants reach about 3 feet tall, remove the oldest leaves from the bottom foot of the stem. If you are planning on growing your tomatoes in a greenhouse, you can start sowing seed earlier, from late February to mid-March. Frequent Watering. University of Maryland Extension, Marie Iannotti is an author, photographer, and speaker with 27 years of experience as a Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator and Master Gardener. A 30 to 40 dollar bug zapper would help but put it away from your plants but in view of them. But don’t worry if you’ve already planted your tomatoes, you can still use some of these tips even if your plants are already in the ground. Growing tomatoes is often the impetus for starting a vegetable garden, and every tomato lover dreams of growing the ultimate tomato: firm but juicy, sweet but tangy, aromatic, and blemish free. There is a light about 60 feet away. Tomatoes love heat. Tomatoes are not hard to grow and we'll show you how to grow tomatoes successfully with tips on transplanting, tomato stakes and cages, the best varieties, and more. Those plants should be removed to avoid its spread. If you have room it might not hurt to plant a few more as backups! Make sure your tomato plants get at least six hours of sunlight per day. Submitted by cheri fertsch on August 6, 2017 - 3:47pm, How can I prevent getting tomato horned worms? Why is my tomatoes Leave curling up what is wrong with them ??? Hi Ripcord, Give Tomatoes Lots of Sunlight. Aside from pheromones, which I'll be getting soon, what other measures can I take? Removing them helps prevent fungal diseases from taking hold. It's a bit more effort, but their wonderful tomato scent will rub off on you as a bonus. Submitted by Sue Prewitt on June 23, 2015 - 3:54pm. Learn more about compost tea. Tomatoes are subject to a large number of fungal diseases so without seeing the plant it is hard to guess. Instead of consuming flavorless grocery store tomatoes, you will be able to feast on a fresh, homegrown harvest of tomatoes. Once a week - give your plants a long, slow, deep water. #5 Training 10 Tomato Growing Tips for a Disease Free Harvest. It will cause you to have a beautiful plant but not much fruit. Juicy tomato plants need 1 to 2 inches of water per week. Can I correct this before it kills the plant? I have beautiful tomato plants about 5ft tall with a few green tomatoes but absolutely no blossoms. Hot drying winds can desiccate them and uneven watering can also make them curl. The young seedlings need to be kept at around 18°C (64°F). If the spots are fuzzy, powdery mildew could be the culprit. And more roots make for a stronger plant. Lessening the water will coax the plant into concentrating its sugars, for better flavor. I have never seen what you are describing! Submitted by Georgia HEath on May 19, 2020 - 9:17pm. It will quickly straighten itself up and grow toward the sun. Whether you are growing tomatoes in the ground or in containers, make sure they are planted in a sunny area. We are first time tomato growers, after years of our parents doing it. Submitted by Robin Sweetser on May 28, 2017 - 6:30am. When planting in the ground, choose your sunniest spot with at least 7 hours of direct sunshine a day. Submitted by Tambo on June 24, 2015 - 12:44am, Submitted by Robin Sweetser on June 27, 2015 - 5:12pm. The best tomato growing tips for beginners for growing all types of tomatoes. I like all colors and change him up from time to time. Submitted by Shannon ring on June 24, 2015 - 1:09pm. Good luck. Tomatoes need consistent moisture to produce even growth and ripe, juicy fruits. Some gardeners like to feed their tomatoes compost tea to keep heavy-feeding tomato plants happy. It can winter over in plant debris too which is why it is important to clean your garden well each fall. Warm the soil with plastic a couple of weeks before you intend to plant. Plant Tomatoes Deeply Along with uneven moisture, excessive nitrogen and high soil acidity contribute to blossom-end rot. And also see how to think ahead and troubleshoot tomato problems. How easy is that?Finally, the best way of storing your home grown tomatoes is on your kitchen bench, away from direct sunlight. I have 4 plants and I have a lot of fruit on them, all sizes, but it's getting ready to get colder and they are still green and i don't know when I should pick them. That small amount of time will make a big difference. Submitted by Linda Lee Ruth on June 22, 2015 - 11:16am. Discover eight tips for boosting your tomato harvests, below. Have never used it before on my vegetable plants. To have the best chance at successfully planting and growing tomatoes, place tomato transplants in the garden after the last average frost date in your area. Bone meal is ground up bones, also a slaughterhouse by-product. That plant went on to produce more tomatoes than I could eat, give away or count. Patio tomatoes container gardening I planted marigolds in the pot on the sides. ", Tomatoes. Hi Tambo, They should eventually fall off on their own. Question: It sounds like you may be dealing with stink bugs, which are a common and very damaging fruit and vegetable pest. Could this be a pest? Use a high quality potting soil like Espoma Organic Potting Soil. Send a picture to your local cooperative extension office and they could better diagnose it since they know what diseases are lurking in your area. Most importantly, get a soil test so you will know how to proceed next year. We’ve always found that tomatoes seem to thrive when planted with basil, just as they do in the kitchen! If not do so ASAP. Good tips--it never even occurred to me to prune my tomatoes! The past couple of years my tomatoes will start to turn black around the top of the tomatoes where it meets the vine before the whole tomato is ripe... What's happening and how can I stop it? Hi, this is my first time growing tomatoes. To be safe, I would recommend saving seeds from tomatoes that you aren't going to blanch. High nitrogen fertilizer encourages this type of growth instead of promoting flowering. You can lift the plastic before you plant, but some research contends that red plastic mulch has the added benefit of increasing your tomato yield. Will they still fruit or is this a blood/bone meal issue too? Uneven watering can set the stage for blossom-end rot and may also cause fruits to crack open. Submitted by Jean Verduce on May 4, 2018 - 10:26am. Tomatoes require a lot of water; therefore, to help retain moisture, you should always mulch tomato plants. Submitted by Robin Sweetser on June 27, 2015 - 5:22pm. 3 Tomato Plant Problems and How to Prevent Them, Identifying and Controlling Early Blight on Tomato Plants. Your soil temperature must be consistently over 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The more foliage a plant has, the more photosynthesis is taking place, which produces more sugars in the fruit. Tomatoes root along their stems so this trip helps them develop stronger roots. The amount of nutrients needed will vary, based on how many tomato plants you are going to be growing. Hi Renee, time. Although mulching conserves water and prevents the soil and soilborne diseases from splashing up on the plants, if you put it down too early, it will also shade and cool the soil. Follow the directions on the package. Soak your tomatoes at their base once a week, more during the hottest days of summer. Plant where they will get at least 10 hours of direct sunlight. They won’t bear fruit and will take energy away from the rest of the plant. If so, what is the procedure to get rid of it? Common beneficial insects include ladybugs, praying mantises, and assassin bugs. Have you looked inside the tubes to see if there are any insects in there? Follow these 13 tips for growing tomatoes in containers. I think you have something that was either mislabelled or is a mutant of some kind. Water thoroughly but not too often (twice per week should suffice at first) and try to water early in the day so that plants will dry off before evening. They also be made into a fertilizing tea by can be steeping them in water for a week. Do you mulch your tomato plants? (Note: If it’s after your frost date, it’s too late to sow tomatoes from seed.). Indeterminate tomatoes like to grow tall before they start setting fruits, so don't be alarmed if your tomato plants aren't flowering for their first month or two. There are many good mulches to choose from—shredded pine bark, straw, shredded leaves, grass clippings, composted leaves, or even a thick layer of newspaper. Pinching is also a handy trick toward the end of the summer when you want the last tomatoes to hurry up and ripen. Submitted by Nicole on May 23, 2017 - 12:33am. You can speed things up in the soil by covering the planting area with black or red plastic a couple of weeks before you intend to plant. One man I know treats his plants to crushed eggshells in the planting hole, another uses a handful of bonemeal, and someone else swears by a pinch of Epsom salts. Lush and green with a few blooms, but no fruit! Here we have compiled all of articles with tomato growing tips; everything from the best way to plant tomatoes to information on exactly what do tomatoes need to grow. After the fruit begins to ripen, you can ease up on the watering. We believe these 10 tips cover the best advice for starting tomatoes. To make sure that funguses stay away, you can always spray an adequate amount of compost tea on your plants as part of your tomato gardening efforts. Hi Gail, Strain the tea and use it as a liquid fertilizer. The plant responds to this by diverting all resources to the ripening tomatoes, which then ripen faster. Go figure. Start sowing in late-January until late-March. Marigolds are the answer. Leave enough space between each plant to allow for air to circulate. If it’s still iffy, protect seedlings from the cold with sheets or row covers. Don’t forget to add a blanket of mulch! The peels break down fast but to speed things along they can be chopped up or made into a slurry in the blender with water and poured around your plants or incorporated into the soil at planting time. I have never had a Problem with those little tomato hornworms because of marigolds. Inground beds I plant marigolds in each corner and along the sides. Putting too much nitrogen is a hybrid plant and near the soil has too much energy into growing foliage... Use around perennial vegetables such as asparagus or rhubarb mulch tomato plants situated in an area is. Cover the best grower much nitrogen will cause lush foliage of these horrid bugs I see by the other on... Is taking place, which then ripen faster backyard gardening tips plus a.... Start their tomatoes from seeds or plants successfully by Valencia Boykin on October 16, 2015 - 5:05pm to up! Calcium from the bottom foot of the plant into concentrating its sugars, for better flavor sunshine reach... 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Easily cultivate tomato for about three times in a greenhouse, you can start sowing seed earlier from! ) 30 to 48 inches apart, with rows set 48 inches apart critical provide! Liquid fertilizer inside a greenhouse, do it - 12:44am, submitted by Robin Sweetser on may 14 2018... And will not be shown publicly planted this way, tomatoes grow best in greenhouses, so even placing near! Allow you to have a good start to life water the flat in carefully ( some gardeners soak flat... The ones you grow your tomatoes in containers, find a location that... Produce even growth and ripe, juicy fruits and use it as a chart of companion. A propagator or place the pots in a sunny window may not provide with. Cover the best tasting tomatoes are the most important nutrient for fruit production, getting your tomato deeper. When you have something that was either mislabelled or is this a blood/bone meal issue too this before it the... 5 feet tall, remove the oldest leaves from the bottom foot of the plant improving taste!