At last … we’ve entered the seed sowing time zone for the UK – from mid March through April – and won’t have to make excuses for early sowings any more!
Seed & Potting Compost for Tomatoes
Choosing the best compost for tomatoes can be quite confusing with so much choice around.
I like to start my seeds off with a seed compost or Root-it sponges then move on to a potting compost for their first home, about four weeks after sowing.
Westland multi-purpose compost with added John Innes now has a chart on the back of the bag giving an idea of the nutrient strength and the pH.
This is very helpful and gives us tomato growers a little bit more knowledge of the best compost for tomatoes and what we are growing our plants in!
Nutrient Strength and Balance
Tomato plants require a very weak mix of nutrients when they are seedlings. As they grow, so their demand for food increases and we feed more often or increase the dose.
However, it’s not just the amount of food they receive but also the mixture or balance of nutrients that is also important.
We often associate blossom end rot with calcium deficiency and large fruiting plants, but small seedlings need calcium too for cell growth and other functions.
One of the best feeds available for seedlings is “First Feed” and I can recommend it – especially if you are using jiffy pellets or sponges.
It is also excellent as a foliar spray for soil grown seedlings too because it contains a small amount of just about every nutrient a young tomato plant could wish for.
Over the winter I grew two plants – Red Alert and Maskotka – in the window without grow lights and the only food they had was First Feed.
The best thing about a plant like this is being able to take cuttings.
Below are seven cuttings that I took over the Christmas period and I expect they will be fruiting by the end of May.
They were started in Root-it Sponges, fed on First Feed then transferred to ordinary pots containing potting soil and perlite.
Taking cuttings can be done at any time and with any tomato plant, bush or tall, as long as there are shoots to remove.
Making the most of available light
This week I’ve been tidying the pollytunnel and preparing to put white reflective sheeting on the floor and in other strategic positions.
The thought of another “low light ” summer is something best to be ready for!
Remember, as light increases, photosynthesis and transpiration increases too, which means plants will grow faster – all other conditions being equal!
Here’s this week’s mystery object …
No heavy technical stuff this week … I’m off to sow a few seeds! 🙂