Feeding Tips, Crimson Crush, Blight, Taste and Pruning

Feeding Tips for Quadgrow and Oasesbox Planters

If you find that your tomato feed is getting low, instead of putting feed in the reservoir, feed/water directly into the soil and add plain water to the reservoir. You’ll use less feed.

This means that plants have access to feed around the surface area of their roots – and in these hot temperatures, plant tap roots that grow down into the reservoirs will be able to access plain water as required.

Oasesbox tomato plant roots.
Plant Roots In Reservoir (Oasesbox).

The Quadgrow reservoir needs to be kept quite full in order to satisfy the moisture requirements of fully grown plants in fruit.
I’ve had to water the soil on occasions because my tallest fruiting plants have been wilting because they can’t get enough water if the reservoir is below half full.

The Oasesbox runs on the wet side, so it is great in hot conditions where plants need access to plenty of water. In the early summer, the Oasesbox reservoir should be kept around half full or below.

Of course in the early part of the summer, too much water can restrict root growth, so the Quadgrow is probably better at this period of the season.

Whichever self watering planter you use, it is necessary to get used to its peculiarities, to get the best results.

Crimson Crush and Lizzano

This season I have been impressed with the taste of Crimson Crush and the number and length of production of cherry tomatoes from Lizzano. Mountain Magic is a great alternitive for those who love Gardener’s Delight but often suffer with blight.

Three blight resistant tomato varieties.

Crimson Crush is said to be an F1 but the results I’ve had this season show otherwise:

  • A lot more seeds in packet than expected (F1 seeds are expensive).
  • Inconsistent results – some plants had different shaped fruit than others, from the same seed packet.
  • Some plants were vigorous – some were not, from the same seed packet.

However, if all of the plants retain blight resistance, I can choose which ones to save seed from for next season.

Tomato Blight

The air is very high in fungal spores in the UK at the moment.

These spores can only infect leaves when conditions are wet or damp. Unfortunately, many of us in the UK are about to get some heavy rain!

It won’t be a huge threat if we get one downpour then back to the sunny conditions we’ve enjoyed lately. However, if we get several days of rain, our outdoor plants are in danger of late blight.

I and many reading this will have had seasons when we have been wiped out by blight, with every plant affected with rotting inedible tomatoes.

Let’s hope it doesn’t happen this season. Of course if you are growing blight resistant varieties, you should be OK.

Tomato Taste

It’s interesting to note that most of the taste from a freshly picked tomato comes from the juice around the seeds, rather than the flesh.

A fleshy plum variety like Roma, for example, tastes disappointing at room temperature but very good when cooked – fried or grilled. Cooking brings out the full flavour of the flesh which keeps its shape when heated.

It’s also interesting to note that tomatoes are best kept at room temperature.

Putting them in the fridge reduces the taste and doesn’t prolong the shelf life – if it did, supermarkets would display tomatoes in the cold cabinet!

Pruning tomato plants in long season areas…

I recently had a question asking about pruning indeterminate (tall) varieties from a grower in California.

The photo I received showed a mass of leaves without being able to tell how many plants were in the photo.

In long season areas such as Southern California and Florida, you can a allow a number of side shoots to grow on tall varieties and eventually grow more tomatoes, but it is important to note:

The more side shoots you have on a tall variety, the longer it takes for tomatoes to mature.

In a long season, this is fine. In a short season area such as the UK, it is best to grow our tall varieties on one stem (two maximum for cherry varieties) for the quickest results – the toms will then mature (we hope!), before the cold weather sets in.

Bush varieties such as Tumbling Tom do not usually need pruning.

I hope you have a kitchen full of tomatoes!


4 Responses

  1. Rhys Jaggar
    | Reply

    Kitchen is indeed full of tomatoes through July Nick, with the heat having accelerated March crops to produce harvests within 16 weeks for Tigerella, Black Russian, Super Marmande, Black Cherry and Maskotka.

    Due to 1976-esque heat here, I have the biggest Alicantes (not ripe yet), Black Cherries ever, but Maskotkas after a great start did not grow on and are now ripening the last fruit prematurely. Maskotkas do well in cool years, so maybe it is to be expected they are less adapted to extreme heat.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Rhys,
      Good to know that you’ve had a great season so far!
      It’s definitely the case that some varieties prefer cooler temperatures than we’ve had lately.

  2. Jess Allaway
    | Reply

    Hi Nick,

    A good year overall and have reached the giving away stage earlier than usual! The remark about the taste being best in the juice around seeds made me smile. So many tomato recipes call for de-seeding which always seemed madness to me. Can’t think of anything worse than “gutting” a perfectly delicious ripe tomato. I always ignore that step! Let’s hope the heavy rain forecast will pass over soon and just bring temperatures down a wee bit.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Jess,
      You are absolutely right … the juice has the most intense flavour!
      For those who want the red lycopene, a tube of tomato puree/paste is a good option.

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