Understanding the needs of tomato plants, that is, what they like and dislike is a great advantage because happy plants are fruitful plants.

When It’s too Sunny and Hot
One of the big issues when growing our own tomatoes is that we are told that tomato plants like full sun. So, as soon as we get a blue sky and a full sunny day, our first thought is to put our seedlings and small plants in the sun all day long, thinking that it’s what they need and it will do them good.

This is the same as the lily-white holidaymaker on his or her first visit to Spain, who decides on day one of their holiday to lie on the beach all day with no suntan lotion – imagine the result – Sunburn!

The little tomato plant who has hardly seen any sun since it germinated gets full blast all day long while we’re at work. I know that’s not very often (the full day of sun) but it does happen sometimes!

The effect is the same on the plant as it is on the holiday maker.
For the plant, the newest growth is especially effected because it is the most tender and becomes stunted and shriveled.

The plant becomes stressed wondering where it is going to get enough water to cope with the hot sun and its root system isn’t developed enough to deliver the quantity of moisture to the leaves that it needs.

The plant over-heats and stops growing – shuts-down. It has happened to me so many times in the past, so I have to keep reminding myself to acclimatise plants gradually to the sun before they get a long dose of sunshine.

When It’s Too Cold and Wet
The other extreme is the cold and wet.
Plants have immune systems that become lowered when they are stressed. Leaving plants in the cold and wet for too long will stress them and when their immune system lowers, they catch one or more of the many diseases just waiting to attack them.

Tomato plants (they’re sub-tropical) like the same temperatures as humans when we wear light clothing – room temperature indoors, and mild to warm weather outside. Hot weather is actually too hot for most tomato varieties and they’ll require some shade.

To Sum-Up
So there it is … tomato plants have a lot in common with people, they need shelter and shade to be happy, and when they are stressed, are more likely to become unwell.

Tomato Seeds – Service and Value
Looking around at some of the seed companies I have found two sources that provide a quick service and seeds that are low in price.

Real Seeds sell a range of tomato seeds at a good price, but what I particularly like about them is the information they give about saving your own seeds.

Breed Your Own Variety – What Would You Name It?
Also, check out the variety at real seeds that hasn’t yet become stable – a cross between Latah and Gardener’s Delight. It is three generations old (F3’s) and will become stable at the fifth or sixth season. More on this in a future newsletter.

Seed Parade is perhaps the least expensive place to buy tomato seeds and I can recommend their quick service!

That’s it for this week’s Newsletter. Please leave a comment below if you would like to.

Best wishes.
Nick

2 Responses

  1. Andy
    | Reply

    Still avidly following you, one question which may seem a bit silly, but when should we or should we have already watered the tomato plants from 2 weeks ago and how often should we be watering them at this stage?

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Andy,
      It’s a good question! If the soil looks very dry give them a light watering from below. If they look desperate, give them a spray/misting with water too.
      At this stage we need to be a bit mean with water otherwise they’ll shoot up like rockets.
      Also some varieties become more leggy than others – Red Alert can become very leggy when too warm, over-watered and in low light levels.
      So the best thing is to water as little as possible.
      Cheers,
      Nick

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