Top tips for growing toms
Growing tomatoes can be a tricky business but like a lot of the mystical art of growing stuff.. a little knowledge goes a long way!
So many varying factors tend to make it a hit or miss affair, we are bound to say that choosing a strong plant initially goes a long way..
Top Tomato Tips and facts about a amazing fruit!
We suggest trying three or four varieties at least – some will better suit your locality/soil/growing space better than others, they may have differing susceptibility to disease, and some may taste better than other varieties.
As you can see from our range there are 4 of different forms of toms
- Plum for cooking (and eating)
- Cherry to mid size for salads
- Beef or large tomatoes for cooking and salads
- Paste tomatoes for sauces
There are 2 distinct forms for the growth characteristics of tomato plants
- often called “bush” tomatoes
- grow to about 3 or 4 feet high
- entire crop yields at the same time, (usually within one to two weeks)
- plant stops growing when the fruit sets on the terminal bud
- plant dies after the crop occurred
- Need some level of staking or caging, but can function without any
- Suckers shouldn’t be removed or pinched, and tomato plants shouldn’t be pruned, or you run the risk of ruining or reducing your crop significantly. Reason is that these tomato plants are wired genetically to produce a certain number of stems, leaves and flowers. If you mess it up, you will interfere with the abundance of the crop
- Compact and bushy plants
- Many new hybrid tomatoes are determinate
- Great for people who want a massive amount of tomatoes all at once for bottling, chutney making, saucing, freezing
- Early varieties are usually determinate tomatoes
- Often called “vine” tomatoes
- Usually grow to approximately 6 feet tall. From experience, In the tomato growing industry vines are allowing to grow up to 20 metres in length.
- Will grow and produce stems, leaves, flowers and tomatoes until the frost kills the plant
- Tomatoes will consistently produce crops until the plant dies
- Need strong staking or caging support systems, the taller they get the heavier they are and the more support they need
- Plants are better off if the suckers are removed or pinched. These appear between stem laterals, try pushing them into pot… chances are you get a new tomato plant.
- Most heirloom varieties are indeterminate tomatoes
- Great for people who want to add tomatoes to their menu all season long
Tomatoes are more prone to the dreaded blight if grown outdoors. Blight is a air born problems exasperated by warm damp weather (the British summer!) At Brogdale veg we have a method for tackling that.
Aspirin and our Tomatoes… we spray our tomatoes when young with a weak solution of dissolved aspirin – The salicylic acid of aspirin mimics a hormone in tomato plants. The hormone naturally triggers a defence response in tomatoes. You are tricking your tomatoes into to triggering a defence response by spraying it with aspirin. The theory is to induce a defence response before diseases arrive. You are boosting your tomatoes defences BEFORE an attack of leaf spot or blight occur.
- Grow your tomatoes in a sunny location sheltered from wind.
- Grow bags are easy to use but consider mixing up your own home compost with manure.
- Consider companion planting with tomatoes. Sow basil underneath as a sacrificial (white fly is drawn to it rather than your toms) basil is a excellent plant for this.
- Your plants will need support to grow strongly – use canes for tall varieties and/or netting for bushes.
- Push the pot your tomatoes arrive in into the soil in front of the plant, tomato plants hate getting wet and it does not wash the soil away.
- When the plant starts developing flowers give your plant a comfrey or seaweed feed – tomatoes love potassium!
- Water steadily – it encourages consistent growth avoiding split fruit.
- If you decide to plant out your tomato outside sink a pot into the ground next to the main stem. Water into the pot as it gets below the surface and does not disturb the soil around the plant.
- Don’t let your plant get to tall.. limit your plant to six trusses (bunches) of tomatoes to focus growing
- pick leaves off around the tomatoes when they’ve reached full size but have yet to start changing colour – this gets the sun to the fruit, increases air flow, and minimises disease.
- The most important thing is – be easy on yourself if things don’t go perfectly well, experiment.. try different varieties, share fruit with neighbours, try growing them outdoors!!