Autumn has definitely arrived where I live – I nearly had to put the central heating on the other day!
Now that we’ve reached September, and the tomato growing season will soon be coming to an end, you’ve probably got a lot of tomatoes that are still green and you’re hoping, like me, that they’ll soon ripen!
Feed Twice As Often
When the temperature drops in the Autumn, plants absorb less moisture, and with it, less tomato food.
It’s possible to increase feeding without damaging your plants (they’ll soon be finished anyway!) by feeding twice as often as recommended on the packet. A couple of weeks of over-feeding will do no harm now that plants are mature and the extra potash will help toms to ripen.
Large Varieties – The Biggest Challenge!
Growing large, beefsteak tomatoes outdoors is probably the biggest challenge in tomato growing.
Here are a few reasons why:
- Large varieties usually take longer to mature.
- They need more nutrients to grow properly – especially calcium to avoid blossom end rot.
- They are exposed longer to attack from diseases and pests before they mature.
- Most large varieties originate from warm areas of the world that have long growing seasons.
- A poor summer is likely to have a negative effect on yield and sometimes you’ll be lucky to grow more than a dozen toms from one plant – and many of these will be smaller than expected.
It is better to stop tall plants at three trusses on large varieties when growing outdoors to help encourage the growth of tomatoes.
If growing in a greenhouse, the situation is much improved and you’ll stand a better chance of success with large varieties – or any variety for that matter!
The best large variety for growing outdoors that I’ve grown has been Oregon Spring (left) – a large bush plant.
This tomato was bred for growing outdoors and sets fruit easily and early – an important consideration after the late arrival of flying insects this season in my area.
So, planning which tomatoes to grow next season, I have a preliminary list of:
- Oregon Spring – large bush
- Stupice – medium tall
- Red Alert – cherry bush
Each one of the above is very early, and this season at least, has excellent taste.
Of course I’ll be growing lots of other varieties too, but these are the ones I shall sow in February and get off to an early start!
- Getting off to an early start has its down-side.
- Plants may become leggy owing to a lack of light
- They need to be kept indoors until after the last frost
- A combination of condensation and cold temperatures with cause fungal problems and you’ll have to sow again.
Still, if you are a keen tomato grower, you may decide that all the extra effort is worth it – you could be eating your own tomatoes by the middle of June!
Online Gardening Course
If anyone is interested in online gardening courses, here’s a new website that has just sprung up called “My Gardening School“.
It’s got lots of courses including an introduction to vegetable growing and looks pretty good – it’s not cheap though!
That’s it for another week … please leave a comment below if you would like to.