Moonglow tomatoes, prized for their orange-yellow coloring and sweet, mild flavor, grow on determinate vines and produce firm, 3- to 4-inch fruit. These heirloom tomatoes, like all heirlooms, retain their original flavor and size as gardeners save seeds from one year to the next in attempts to preserve the original tomato. Although available in commercial seed, Moonglow is an open-pollinated tomato that has been untouched by hybridization or cross breeding. Grown in the home garden, Moonglow requires the same basic care of any determinate tomato.
Prepare the soil by tilling to a depth of 8 to 12 inches. Remove rocks, roots and other debris from the soil.
Perform a soil test, preferably in the fall, to determine the condition of your soil. Your local extension office provides soil-testing services for a small fee. Follow their directions for gathering the soil sample. The soil analysis provides a written summary of your soil's needs as well as instructions for amending the soil.
Amend the soil following the guidelines in your soil analysis summary. Typically, this includes adding organic matter to improve the texture of the soil and promote proper drainage, chemical or organic fertilizers, and lime to adjust the pH, if necessary. Amending in the fall allows time for additions to the soil to break down and release nutrients your plants need.
Transplant seedlings to the garden in spring once the danger of frost has passed and nighttime temperatures remain above 50 degrees F to 55 degrees F. Lower temperatures stress tomato plants and may set them back for several weeks.
Plant seedlings deeply. Dig a trench, then plant them in it by laying the seedling on its side and gently curving the upper four inches above the soil. Use care not to snap the top and fill in around the plant with soil. Firm down to secure the plant. Roots develop along the stem providing a vigorous root system to support the maturing plant.
Water thoroughly to saturate the soil at the root level, and provide a boost of balanced fertilizer by tracing a circle in the soil with the edge of the hoe 4 to 6 inches from the base of the plant to surround the seedlings. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of 5-10-10 fertilizer around the circle and work into the tops 2 inches of soil with a hoe or garden claw. Fertilizer releases nutrients slowly when plants are watered to provide a boost of nutrients without the danger of burning young roots.
Apply foliar feeder (plant food that is absorbed through the leaves) designed for tomatoes on a 10- to 14-day schedule throughout the summer. Mix with water following the recommended application rate, and apply manually with a watering can. Tomatoes are heavy feeders and require supplemental nutrients for best growth. Fish emulsion or other organic fertilizers can be applied instead of the foliar feeder, if you prefer a nonchemical fertilizer. Follow application rates and methods of application outlined on the container. Avoid those high in nitrogen as this causes lush, green foliage but inhibits blooming and fruit set.
Harvest tomatoes in fall after ripening on the vine.