LOOKING AFTER YOUR TOMATOES

If you’re new to growing tomatoes, we’ve got some top tips to help you get the most from your plant and ensure a good crop of juicy, tangy fruits:

✓ Tomato plants like a sunny, sheltered spot. Grow them against a shed or wall, or even better in a greenhouse.
✓ If you are growing cordon, or ‘indeterminate’, tomatoes (tall growing, single stemmed) you will need to:
– Install a framework for the tomatoes to grow up. Ideally your tomato plants will be in a row in which case place canes vertically into the soil next to each plant and tie another cane horizontally to support the others. Loosely tie your plants to the canes as they grow.
– Once your plant has developed at least six pairs of true leaves, ’pinch out’ or cut off any additional side shoots which are growing between the main stem and the leaves.
– A ‘truss’ is a cluster of smaller stems where the flowers and fruit develop. Once you’ve got four of these on your outdoor tomato plant, or six on an indoor plant, gently cut off the tip of the main stem. This will stop the plant getting any taller and concentrate it’s energy on producing the best crop.
✓ If you are growing bush, or ‘determinate’, tomatoes don’t prune them because this will reduce cropping. Unless you’ve got a really compact variety you will probably still need to stake them but a single cane should suffice.
✓ Water your tomato plants at regular intervals.
✓ Feed your plants with tomato feed. Take care to read the feed manufacturer’s instructions.
✓ To aid pollination you can just tap the tomato stems which will encourage distribution of the pollen.
✓ Mist the flowers regularly with water to help the fruit set.