If a picture paints a thousand words, I can probably say a few words about the tomato plants growing in this picture.

Tomatoes growing against a wall

It’s a good example of how to grow tomatoes and there are a number of points to make.

The wall is painted white
This helps maximize light on the leaves and it’s easier to see what’s going on behind and keep a look-out for aphids etc. Professional growers use white plastic sheeting in their greenhouses to reflect light upwards.

The leaves and leaf branches are removed up to the trusses with mature fruit. This aids air circulation but still leaves plenty of leaves for foliar feeding.

Tomatoes growing to full size before they ripen
For me, this season has been a season of two halves. My lowest trusses that struggled through the months of rain and dull weather have tomatoes ripening before they reach full size.

Surprisingly, some of my bush varieties are producing a second batch/flush of tomatoes that are of better size than the first flush.

Tomato TrussTrusses have tomatoes of consistent size
As the weather has improved, the upper trusses are now behaving as they should and the tomatoes are all around the same size.

The fact that the plants in the photos are displaying such good results is a credit to the growing conditions and grower of course!

Each plant variety is clearly labelled
Every season I end up with one or two tomato plants that escape labels and remain anonymous. Doesn’t matter too much until you grow a variety that does really well and you don’t know what it’s called!

The whole area is clean and weed-free which reduces the chance of air-borne fungal attack.

There are some diseases that are spread by weeds and aphids. A weed carries a virus which is passed on to an aphid when the aphid feeds on the weed. The aphid then feeds on a tomato plant.

Curly-Top is one such virus which stunts growth and displays very tightly curled leaves at the growing tip – there is no cure.

Growing on gravel
Growing large pots on gravel means that roots are able to grow out of the pot bottoms and absorb more moisture when necessary. Plants get less stressed if they know that there is more water available should they need it. Growing pots on grow bags is also a good idea.

Selection of Varieties
Some seasons, certain varieties will excel while others will produce poor results. Growing a number of different varieties is the surest way to get a good crop.

However, in the picture you can see that every tomato variety is doing well and is a credit to the tomato grower.

Thank you to the person who sent me the photos!

5 Responses

  1. birgul
    | Reply

    I would like to receive your newsletters please.
    can you add me to your mailingslist.
    thanks in advance

  2. Rhys Jaggar
    | Reply

    Must back up the observation about a season of two halves.

    Also, the way this season has gone has meant that transplanting into the ground has produced more trusses later than growing in 10 inch pots. By turning three Shirley cordons into ‘bushes’ with three growing stems mean my four plants in the garden now have 8 – 11 trusses on each with growing fruit on them. The bottom ones are being harvested, whereas if the weather keeps going through to the end of September, good crops should be obtained even on the 10th truss which has uniform fruits of small size currently.

    The ones in the pots have produced well on the first three trusses – 25 – 35 fruit. Beyond that, a few fruit per truss but probably nutrient limited.

    We do have a fine harvest coming though.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Rhys,
      It’s not surprising that those who grow in regions where there is a longer summer than ours, grow directly into their backyard soil, given the possible harvest. They also get more information on their seed packets about disease resistant varieties, and are experienced at growing in their garden soil each season.

  3. nathan0578
    | Reply

    I’m suprised that both Ailsa Craig and Shirley are missing from your top varieties,is this your list or is it from some kind of poll among tomato growers?
    I have tried growing outside but find the North East weather or possibly my inadequacy leaves me with a very poor return,so I will stick to my greanhouse and admire the crop in the photograph,but please don’t tell me they were grown north of Leeds.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Nathan,
      You’re right … they should be on the list!
      I’m not sure of the location but I think they are growing south of Leeds.

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