In this week’s Newsletter: Tomato plant vigour, growing tomatoes outside, the limiting factor and containers for final position planting.
Tomato Plant Vigour
We all want our plants to grow as quickly as possible – that’s why it’s easy to over water and over feed them – kill them with kindness as it were!
Some plants are more vigorous and grow more quickly than others.
Generally, hybrid F1’s are more vigorous than standard open pollinated plants. If you wish to grow a large variety, it’s good to choose a hybrid. Because of its vigour, it is more likely to succeed in a poor summer.
Grafted plants are often more vigorous than hybrids because the rootstock, which is also a hybrid F1, is bred for vigour and soil borne disease resistance usually giving a higher yield.
The variety attached to the rootstock, the plant grafted onto the top, is called the scion and is our chosen variety – usually popular for its taste.
If we graft Gardener’s Delight (open pollinated), we would get a slightly more disease resistant and vigorous version of the plant we know and love. However, GD is already a fairly vigorous – easy to grow cherry – so it probably isn’t worth the extra bother and expense and it would still be susceptible to blight if grown outside. The rootstock is disease resistant to soil borne disease but doesn’t protect the plant above (the scion) from blight.
The best combination for outside growing
The ultimate variety for growing outside, in my opinion, is a grafted, blight resistant variety such as Crimson Crush.
Spending money on a grafted plant that could succumb to blight – highly likely in the UK – would be very disappointing!
For growing inside a greenhouse, the blight resistance is not as important but resistance to soil borne diseases and vigour is.
Of course, grafted plants are expensive to buy and fiddly to graft yourself – temperature and humidity need to be kept at a constant level for the graft to take.
So for growing outside, the ultimate, most likely to succeed, tomato variety is a blight resistant grafted hybrid, you get the vigour, the disease resistance, the blight resistance, the yield and the taste!
By the way, don’t remove the grafting clips – they will be discarded automatically as the stems grow. The joins are very fragile!
The Limiting Factor
Whether we grow open pollinated, F1 hybrids or grafted tomato plants, we all want our plants to get the best growing conditions so that they grow quickly.
One way to get the best performance from our plants is to be able to recognise the limiting factor.
The limiting factor is whatever a plant needs most.
Here are a few of the most common deficiencies – limiting factors:
- Not enough light (sunshine).
- Too much or not enough water
- Nutrient deficiency
- Low or very high temperatures
- A problem with the soil,
- High humidity etc.
Being able to recognise what is holding a plant back from optimum growth, means that we can make changes and get the best results.
Of course, we can’t always make the sun shine, but we can increase reflected light.
Now is the time to sow!
This week I’ve been potting up some of my seedlings, from the seed tray to their first individual home.
If you haven’t sown your seeds yet, you’ll need to get cracking! By the end of the month it is best to buy plug plants or buy tomato plants at the garden centre.
Look for stocky plants that aren’t too tall. Nice medium/dark green leaves and not in flower.
What’s your final position?
Looking ahead, now is a good time to plan your final position … are you going to use grow bags and grow pots or a self watering planter such as the Quadgrow or Oasesbox?
That’s it for this week… always very happy to hear from you and find out how your seedlings are getting on!