How to Grow Tomatoes
We have prepared a special advice sheet to guide you in the basics of growing your own tomatoes this season. From planting in grow-bags to combating common pests and diseases, our expert pointers will help you raise splendiferous Solanaceae.
Planting in Growing Bags
- When the first truss or 'branch' of flowers has appeared, tomatoes are ready to go into growing bags.
- Prepare the bag by shaking and kneading it to break up compacted compost and form into a hummock shape.
- Puncture the base to make some drainage holes and cut out the pre-marked planting squares.
- Scoop out some of the compost for the tomatoes to be planted.
- The top of the root ball should be beneath the top of the bag and have a light covering of compost.
- Firm in and water.
- Put a growing bag frame over the bag and insert a cane next to each plant.
- As the plants grow, tie them securely to the cane every 10cm (4in).
Alternatively you can plant in pots using the compost from the bag!
- Unless you're growing a bush tomato, the aim is to create a single-stemmed plant.
- To do this, snap out shoots that grow in leaf joints and when your plant has produced four sets of flowering trusses.
- Pinch out the growing tip, this will ensure all its energy goes into producing fruit.
- Water plants daily and once flowers have started to appear, feed with tomato fertiliser every week.
- If you find yourself with a glut of green tomatoes at the end of the growing season, try putting a few in a kitchen drawer with a banana to encourage them to ripen.
Some Common Diseases & Problems
Some of the most common problems with tomatoes are:-
- Skin on the fruit splitting — caused by irregular watering.
- Yellowing of leaves in-between the veins —Can be a sign of a magnesium deficiency.
- Fruits not growing past the size of a match head —Dry set; nothing can be done.
- Brown, sunken areas appear on the fruit —Tomato blight; destroy fruit. Can be prevented by spraying early.
- Leaf roll —The inward curling of young, dark green leaves is a good sign; however, older leaves curling is a sign of excess de-leafing, or a wide variation between day and night temperatures. Provided no signs of pest or disease, no action is required.