Tomatoes like Rainwater
When temperatures are reasonably warm a drop of rain can be very useful.
Firstly, it saves you having to water your outdoor tomato plants, and secondly, it wets the compost or soil gradually, allowing a more thorough wetting of the root area and helping to prevent blossom end rot.
Also, rain is very slightly on the acid side of the pH scale – below 7.0 – and tomatoes like rain and soil that is slightly acidic. Rain is best kept off of their leaves if possible as too much may result in fungal problems and other diseases.
It is often the result of splashing upwards when the tomatoes are watered or spores falling from fungal infected leaves above.
One way to avoid this is to increase air circulation in the greenhouse and being careful not to splash the soil up onto the fruit when watering. The toms are perfectly OK to eat when ripe.
Slugs and Snails … the little rascals!
One problem that does occurs when it rains heavily is that it brings out the slugs and snails. When the rain stops is a good moment to collect them and throw them into the bushes at the bottom of the garden.
My favourite way of dealing with slugs and snails is to place French Marigolds in pots between the tomato plants … the slugs and snails go for the marigolds first!
Marigolds are top of the menu for the hungry snail and their bright colour also attracts bees and other flying insects who help pollinate the tomato flowers.
Also, when a tomato has been half eaten I’ll leave it in an easy place for the little critters to find – better they continue to eat one that’s damaged than a new tomato without a blemish!
Trusses on tall varieties and flower clusters on bush varieties.
Trusses grow on cordon (tall) varieties and flower clusters grow on bush varieties. Flower clusters grow at the end of the leaf branches on bush varieties whereas trusses grow directly from the main stem of cordon types.
The great thing about bush varieties is that you can just leave them to “get on with it” without the need for pruning side shoots, and hopefully they’ll produce lots of fruit from their flower clusters.
Reduce flowers on large varieties
A large number of flower buds on a bush variety that produces large fruit, may need a little pruning or removal of some flower buds in order to reduce a plant’s task of growing a large amount of big tomatoes.
It would be reasonable to expect up to a hundred cherry tomatoes from a well grown bush plant but perhaps only ten or twenty from a bush plant like Oregon Spring that produces large fruit.
Outdoors – flowers should be setting….
For outdoor growing, flowers should start to produce fruit before the end of July or beginning of August in order to get ripe toms before the end of the season and before the cold weather sets in.
This applies to outdoor growing and I estimate that if it takes around two months from flower set to ripe fruit, fruiting would need to begin by the end of July or beginning of August in order to get ripe tomatoes by the end of September and beginning of October.
Greenhouse – growing under cover
Of course if you have a greenhouse, porch or conservatory, plants may be able to be brought indoors to extend the season. An advantage when growing tomatoes in moveable containers!
Unripe, green tomatoes are also useful for making all sorts of dishes – there are plenty of recipes on the internet – chutney anyone …?
I hope you enjoy your own home-grown tomatoes!
As the great song goes …
“There’s only two things that money can’t buy – that’s true love and home-grown tomatoes!”
The grammar’s a bit dodgy but the sentiment is right!