We’re now at the time of the season where every available space is being used (for most of us anyway!), but it ‘s still too early to leave tomato plants out overnight in the UK (early May). With the wind and rain we’ve had this week, they are much better under cover!

Watering Tomatoes Automatically
Capillary matting cut into a long strips is a great way to automatically water your large pots.

At one end is the water container – a 5 gallon brewing container is useful – then pots are placed along the strip of matting.

The reason for the long strip is that you can water more large pots on a 4 metre x 5 inch strip than a piece of square matting of the same area. Like almost everything, capillary matting has become expensive – almost £10.00 for a square metre at Webbs … around half that price on ebay!

This method is particularly effective if you wick your large pots. Although the delivery of water is slow, it is 24/7.

The capillary matting works best on plastic sheeting or in trays.

Last season’s light levels were so poor that white reflective surfaces will help if we get the same conditions this season.

Purple Leaves
This is a very common problem at this time of the season when night temperatures are low. Roots are unable to absorb enough phosphorus (P) and this is displayed in the leaves with a purple tinge.

Some varieties are more prone to this than others but most will lose their purple colour when night temperatures improve.

Adding more phosphorus to the soil won’t help, but a spray with phosphorus, or liquid seaweed which contains phosphorus can make a difference.

A foliar spray with magnesium is also helpful at this time of the season. Magnesium is needed in large amounts in the early stages of growth for the formation of chlorophyll – the green pigment in the leaves.

Chlorophyll is needed for photosynthesis and nice dark green leaves helps this process.

Leaves that are light green around the bottom of a plant’s stem indicate a magnesium deficiency.

Foliar Spray
It’s always best to foliar spray additional nutrients as adding them to the soil can create an imbalance that may lock-up or block certain nutrients and make them unavailable.

A shorter than usual newsletter this week but under the circumstances, I’m pleased to have got something online!