Plants Making Progress
It is amazing how quickly tomato plants grow, the thing is, you don’t realise just how much when you see them everyday. It is only when their growth is recorded on a weekly basis that you realise just what progress has been made.

Warm temperatures and dry weather have enabled the plants to grow at a good pace and without the threat of disease. Howevr, if the weather turns, it will be a different story!

Prevention rather than cure – Avoiding problems before they happen
This is one of the most important aspects of tomato growing because there are many problems, mainly diseases, that cannot be cured. And those that can will usually slow down the development of a plant and make it less fruitful.

So how can we best protect our plants at this time of the season?

Keep plants in top condition
I remember leaving out two young plants that I should have brought into the house one evening and we had a sharp frost overnight.

I thought that they would be damaged beyond repair but surprisingly they were fine!

How did they escape … frost can kill tomato plants?

  • It was only one night
  • The weather was dry
  • They were very healthy plants and could cope (just!)

It did take them a day or two to recover, but no long term damage was done.

The point of this is that very healthy plants are less likely to be affected by adverse conditions and diseases than plants that are
struggling and in poor condition.

The way I keep my plants healthy is by giving them a weekly tonic of either SP Plant Invigorator or Liquid Seaweed.

SP Plant Invigorator is a plant tonic and also helps to protect from aphids and some other nasties that mainly affect tomato plants in the greenhouse.

Liquid Seaweed Extract is particularly good at boosting the immune system which helps plants fight off attack from all sorts of diseases and problems and helps keep them in top condition.

Both products are organic and applied as a foliar spray.

Potential Problems
So what also should we be ready for at this time of the season?

  • Temperatures that drop very low at night
  • Wet, damp weather and also condensation in the greenhouse

There is also a possibility to damaging root growth by:

Keeping plants in pots that are too small for too long
When several roots show through the holes in the bottom of a pot, it is time to pot-on.

Overwatering which removes much needed air from soil
Standing plants in water constantly, will weaken them – wet-dry-wet-dry is best.

Overfeeding which creates a chemical cocktail in the soil
Young roots are easily burned by too much food.

Foliar Feeding
On the subject of feeding, applying nutrients by spraying the leaves (foliar feeding) is a very good way to feed tomato plants, but check the container to see if the food you are using is ok for foliar use.

Chempak Calcium
Spraying leaves with Chempak Calcium is essential, in my opinion, in order to avoid Blossom End Rot when growing medium and large varieties in containers and grow bags.

Now that we’ve reached the end of April, the only way to have a good crop of tomatoes by the end of the season is to buy small tomato plants – it is now too late to sow tomato seeds.

However, you may be successful with seeds if you sow an early variety like Red Alert this weekend!

Until next week …

Best wishes,
Nick

7 Responses

  1. Derek
    | Reply

    Thank you for your informative work. I finally have a set of seedlings growing, I discovered I sowed my first batch of seeds in water logged so I only got two sprouting so I got a dry mix and now 1 week later they have sprouted and are looking healthy.
    cheers
    Derek in Uganda

  2. Joseph
    | Reply

    I read some time ago that tomato plants only need 6 main leaves and that any more means that the strength of the plant is going into the leaves instead of the tomatoes,what are your thoughts on this.

  3. Andy
    | Reply

    Hi Nick
    Sill going well with the growing, however I’ve got a glut of Alicante. Will I be able to pop some of these straight into the ground?

  4. Bob simmons
    | Reply

    As a beginner, I very much appreciate the club and the hints and tips, however I notice that the use of ” grow pots” is not mentioned whereas other publications seem to indicate that they are a must when using grow bags.
    What are your thoughts?

    Bob Simmons

  5. Jan
    | Reply

    Hi Nick love the videos, info and general enthusiasm! Have just put my Gardeners Delight out in to the greenhouse using grow bags and ring pots. They are looking fab! bringing on a second set for later harvesting (!) and hanging bags which worked really well last year. Cheers, Jan

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Jan,
      Thank you for your kind words. Sorry for the delay in replying but I’m having trouble receiving the comments.
      I hope your toms are still looking fab!
      Cheers,
      Nick

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