Practical Advice: Majid Foolad

Improve your tomato-growing techniques with Majid Foolad’s tips.

head shot of Majid Fooled by Penn State

Two Types

If you don’t have a lot of space, go for determinate tomatoes, which grow to a fixed point and then stop. Indeterminate tomatoes keep growing and producing fruit through the summer and into the fall. Use stakes or trellises to separate tomato plants.tomato


Sun and Soil

Tomatoes need a lot of sun and light soil for aeration and water penetration. If you have clay soil, which can easily get waterlogged, add compost to improve texture.


Raise Them

Tomatoes do much better on raised beds than on flat soil. Make sure to plant them deep.


Shared Space

Grow marigold or basil next to your tomatoes—they repel many insects.


Keep Away

Don’t plant your tomatoes next to walnut trees or potato plants: They are both susceptible to fungal diseases that can spread. 


Majid Foolad, professor of plant genetics, developed the Valentine Tomato, which won the 2018 All-American Selection Award for best grape tomato.