This week: Tomato seedlings and high temperatures, beware of the pigeons, take the quiz, reasons why we don’t sow tomato seed directly in garden soil.
Can seedlings have too much sun?
It’s been a fabulous week for sunshine here in the UK.
I don’t want to grumble but it’s been too hot under cover – conservatory, greenhouse etc., and at times, it’s been too breezy on the patio for small seedlings. What a hard man to please!!!
Beware of pigeons!
A few seasons ago, I put a tray of seedlings out on the patio and a pigeon pecked the top off of each one!
We know that tomato plants like full sun but there is a danger of too much sun for seedlings.
Garden fleece is a good way to reduce direct sunlight. If kept in the strong sun for too long, you may find that leaves begin to twist or cup as they try to turn away from the sun.
It’s sometimes difficult to know what the weather is going to be like in your garden, if you are out at work all day – but best to be safe than sorry with seedlings. Better in the shade than damaged in full sun.
Wilting seedlings can be given a misting with water (when in the shade) to rehydrate. Spraying water onto plants in direct sunlight can damage leaves.
I thought it may be fun to have a quiz this week. So that everybody can take part, the answers are in the text below, so read that first if you wish. Click the link at the end to take the quiz.[Note: Requires Adobe Flash – works best on PC’s. For Android install the Puffin Browser via Google Play.]
Tomatoes originate from South America but Italy is often thought to be the home of the tomato because it is so widely grown there and used in Italian cooking.
There are two types of tomato plant:
- Tall – often called indeterminate or cordon.
- Bush – often called determinate.
Bush varieties may be divided into three types:
- Trailing – great for hanging baskets and high sided containers.
- Dwarf upright – ideal for growing on the kitchen windowsill.
- Larger upright – such as Maskotka and Red Alert. These are larger plants with some trailing habit but prefer to grow in larger pots.
Salad tomatoes are medium size – one of the old-timers that has been very popular over the years is Moneymaker. My first two tomato plants were Moneymaker and Alicante – both salad varieties.
The tomato is a fruit because it contains seeds.
In America it was classified as a vegetable in order to avoid import tax.
If you grow indeterminate (cordon) tomatoes in a greenhouse, you can allow the plants to grow up to the greenhouse roof. This will produce between six and ten trusses – depending on the height of your greenhouse.
If you grow outside in a short season area like the UK, it’s best to allow four or five trusses on your cordon varieties.
- Nitrogen for top growth.
- Phosphorus for root growth.
- Potassium for flower and fruiting.
Over feeding can cause a build up of chemicals in the soil that is harmful to roots.
There are a number of reasons why we don’t sow tomato seeds directly in garden soil:..
- The seeds will be slow to germinate at lower temperatures.
- Seedlings will be attacked by insects and diseases.
- Sowing in small pots or seed trays of fresh potting compost will produce the best results.
Bush tomato plants are best grown in high sided containers to keep the fruit up, off the ground and away from slugs and snails etc.
A well grown cherry bush variety can produce well over 100 tomatoes!
There is no prize but If you score 8/10 or higher, you may award yourself the honorary title: “Master of Tomatoes”.
Have a sunny weekend!