The “sow-a-long” starts today so I hope you will join me and sow a few tomato seeds this weekend!

If you don’t have the time right now, you can sow anytime up to the end of April and expect to get a successful crop before the end of the season.

The sow-a-long is at:

Below is a list or glossary of tomato growing terms and frequently used jargon that I hope will be useful to browse.

Blight (tomato/potato), brown areas on the edges of leaves which can spread and kill the entire plant. A fungal disease caused by wet conditions.

Blossom Drop, pollination has not taken place usually because of dryness at the roots and in the air.

Blossom End Rot, Leathery dark coloured patch at the bottom of the fruit.

Bush Variety, 1-2½ft high needs no removal of side shoots, supporting or stopping.

Calyx, is the little green crown at the end of the branch directly attached to the tomato.

Cordon Variety, grown as a single stem, needs side-shoots removed, support and stopping.

Determinate, is a bush variety.

F1 Hybrid, a cross between two varieties chosen because each has particular traits that the grower wants to cultivate.

Greenback, fruit remains unripe around the top because of too much sunlight or too little potash.

Heirloom, is a variety that has been around at least 50 years and be open-pollinated. To have stood the test of time they have some quality attributes.

Indeterminate, is a cordon (tall) variety.

60 Days From Transplanting, means 60 days from planting in final position until fruit is ready for picking.

Open-Pollinated, is a variety that holds on to the parents characteristics generation after generation.

Perlite, is naturally occurring siliceous rock. It provides aeration and optimum moisture retention for superior plant growth.

Side Shoots (suckers) , a term usually applied to shoots that grow between the main stem and leaf branches of cordon varieties and are removed.

Split Fruit, a sudden increase in size causes the skin to split due to inconsistant watering or a deluge of rain.

Truss, is a branch from the main stem on which tomatoes grow.

Vermiculite, is a naturally occurring mineral compound composed of shiny flakes, resembling mica and very absorbant.

Wetting Agent, added to water so that moisture is able to penetrate all of a soil area and not leave dry patches.

Next week we’ll discuss playing it safe and sowing varieties that are most likely to succeed in a poor summer.

Please leave a comment below if you would like to!


6 Responses

  1. Avril
    | Reply

    Hi Nick,
    I bought a packet of Gardeners Delight seeds at a cheap price (thought I was getting a bargain). I sowed them and kept them in my airing cupboard. After 7 days one seed germinated, so I put the seedling in to a light position and now after 11 days the rest are germinating. I am wondering after the other seeds taking so long to germinate if they are likely to produce as well as the one that took 7 days? I suppose you only get what you pay for!

  2. [email protected]
    | Reply

    hi nick i grow about 10 tom plants with only two truss on then pinch top out i find that these come early for picking they are placed on capillary matting on a bench do u think i should grow more trusses i do have 12 other plants i grow to roof with about 6 trusses but they ripen later thank for help mark

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Mark,
      It’s a good idea to only allow two trusses on some of your plants, so tomatoes ripen early.

      If you are growing 20 plus plants, you could try five plants with two trusses, five plants with three trusses, another five with four trusses and let the rest grow to the roof. That way you’ll spread out the ripining even further.

      You could also plant different varieties, those that mature early with only two trusses through to those that mature late with five or six trusses (if there is enough time for them to ripen). That would bring the season forward and extent the season to the maximum. I guess you have a greenhouse which also helps to extend the season at both ends.


  3. Andy
    | Reply

    Just to let you know you’re not alone and we’re following your every instruction. Planted our yellow tumbling toms and black cherry toms this afternoon. Also have some red tumbling toms, Alicante and gardener delight to sow in the next month or so.
    I’m sure as time goes on we will have lots of questions.

  4. terry
    | Reply

    i get another shoot at the end of the truss what causes this?

    • Nick
      | Reply

      This is quite common when another shoot grows out of the end of a truss.
      The best thing to do is to remove the extra shoot, as it is using up extra energy that could go to other parts of the plant.

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