The end of another week and this time it’s keeping them out of the rain that’s the challenge!

If there was only one piece of advice I could give, it would be “keep them out of the rain!”

A short shower on a warm day is not a problem, but wet leaves combined with soaking wet soil over a cold night is a recipe for disaster.

It lowers their resistance to disease, especially fungal diseases such as blight, and even the so-called blight resistant tomato plants, Legend and Ferline won’t cope.

There was a description on a seed packet last year saying that Red Alert will produce tomatoes so early that it will avoid blight altogether! I think they have removed this because it is not true! Unless they are talking about late blight and not early blight or all the other blight-like fungal diseases that will kill your lovely plants in no time!

It’s amazing what you can do with some plastic sheeting or green plastic refuse bags, some canes, pegs and garden string. Doesn’t matter what it looks like as long as it keeps the rain off!

Tomato plants can cope with quite low temperatures as long as they stay dry.

On A Brighter Note
April was a fantastic month (here in the UK) for growing tomato plants and those who sowed seed in March were able to take advantage of the warm weather.

This has helped produce a some good growth and healthy plants – let’s hope that we don’t get too much rain during the rest of the season.

Removing Lower Leaves
Removing a few lower leaves that have started to turn yellow or have been half eaten by a slug is a good idea. It keeps plants healthy by not giving insects decaying leaves to feed on and helps create more air flow around the base of the plants.

If you are growing in a greenhouse, aeration is particularly important and helps reduce condensation and fungal/mould problems.

Remove leaves gradually so as not to stress plants by snapping off their leaf branches rather than cutting them off.
Using a blade can transfer disease from plant to plant. This also applies when removing side shoot, so snap them off too!

Preparing Hanging Baskets
Growing tomatoes in hanging baskets is very demanding because of their size and lack of soil content – they dry out very quickly.
Adding perlite and water retaining gel helps stop them drying out too quickly and I also add a few sheets of newspaper in the bottom before putting the compost in.

The perlite and gel are also good for Topsy Turvy planters too.

The Five Tumbling Toms (aka The Famous Five)
Today is the start of an individual feeding plan for each of the Tumbling Toms.

There is so much advice going around (including from me!) it would be a very good idea, I think, if we over-fed a plant and find out the results – why should we not over-feed our plants and what happens if we do?

The same goes with watering – does it really affect the roots and the taste? and what happens if we grow a Tumbling Tom in the shade – not everyone gets sun in their garden – will the toms ripen?

Within a couple of months we should know the answer to these questions and I hope we’ll get a few surprises too!

Alice – Sunny position and standard tomato food.

Brian – In shade and no tomato food – poor Brian!

Charlie – Sunny position and double dose of tomato food – lucky chap!

Daisy – Sunny position, tomato food, extra magnesium (epsom salts) – lucky girl!

Eric – Over-watered and standard tomato food.

Because these are cherry toms, we don’t need to worry about Blossom End Rot and calcium deficiency that affects larger varieties, so I won’t be adding Chempak Calcium to the toms feeding plan above.

The tomato food is Chempak Standard Tomato Food.

Levington’s Tomorite is also a popular tomato food but check your container to see if it contains calcium?

Hello to Nick from Stirchley!

Regards,
Nick

nick@tomatogrowing.co.uk

20 Responses

  1. robert scott
    | Reply

    Nick, I have moneymaker and alicante growing outside, all with trusses at the moment, am feeding and watering as required but the leaves are curling up although not rotting, If heavy rain or wind is forecast i put them in garage, as i do not have greenhouse, then bring them out again when conditions are more favourable, Am i doing something wrong?

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Bob,
      Leaf curl is very common for the lower leaves, especially in windy conditions. If the leaves look healthy then there is nothing to worry about.
      When the fruit on the first truss begins to ripen, you can remove the leaf branches up to the first truss. In the meantime, any lower leaf branch that looks poorly can be removed also.
      Regards,
      Nick

  2. Joseph
    | Reply

    I have grown my tomato plants in large pots within 2″ high trays which I fill with water,this alows me 2-3 days without watering and stops the dreaded snails and other beasties from damaging the roots or tomotoes.I still spread slug pellets around inside the greenhouse and am always suprised at the number I get, they must be atracted by the smell of the tomatoes.I used to loose quite a few tomatoes to slugs but no more with this method.
    Always look forward to your interesting emails, keep them coming.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Joseph,
      Thanks for the interesting tips on controlling slugs – it is a constant battle!
      Cheers,
      Nick

  3. Buyannemekh
    | Reply

    Hi Nick, I work for an FAO project in Mongolia. Very much thanks to you, I took the courage to sow two Russian varieties of tomatoes at home, started from 11 May, and I am so delighted to see them progressing. It is still cool in our country, and that is why I am full of hope that I was not late with growing tomato seedlings. I share my progress with young people through the Facebook. Your tips and invaluable advices are so timely and comprehensive! Thank you for your good effort to encourage growing more food!

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Buyannemekh,
      It’s very good to know that the website has been encouraging and it’s great to hear from people who are growing tomatoes in different parts of the world.
      I hope your plants produce lots of tomatoes – stay in touch!
      Regards,
      Nick

  4. John Higgins
    | Reply

    Hello Nick,
    Thanks for all the handy info,unfortunately I think all my work might be for nothing,as you might know we are having gale force winds here 60-80MPH, and torrential rain,I have lost about 30% of the glass from my greenhouse,too wild to fix it today and tomorrow,however just need to wait and see,

    Regards
    John
    P.S. my plants were in flower

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi John,
      Sorry to hear the weather is so bad where you are – hope the plants survive ok.
      Cheers,
      Nick

  5. Dero
    | Reply

    Hi Nick
    Thanks for the videos and the insightful advice. I’m participating in the sow along growing 5 varieties of Heirloom tomatoes. I’m the guy in Uganda East Africa. our rainy season has began and I guess we’ll just have to see the results when I plant them out eventually. we don’t have bags of potting mixtures and stuff like that so I mixed up a starter mix of my own using tea leaves, a nitrogen rich manure, rice husks, crushed egg shells and some soil for the seeds. They are doing well and are in their 4th week now, where can I email you my pics 🙂
    Cheers.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Dero,
      It’s good to hear from you out there in Uganda.
      Sounds like you have to be inventive – the crushed egg shells should help with calcium deficiency!
      Please email any pics to nick@tomatogrowing.co.uk I look forward to seeing them and I’ll put one or two on the website if that is ok with you?
      Regards,
      Nick

  6. Peggy
    | Reply

    Hello Nick,
    I love your videos. I grow tomatoes and have 4 plants (big tomatoes) and 2 plants of tree tomatoes.. This is the first time I will try to have a tomato tree, so let’s see!!
    WIth the normal tomatoes, I was very lucky last year I have a lot of tomatoes and the biggest one was 640 gr. Had I so manies that we’ve done “Marmelade de tomate”, spanish jam with tomatoes. Very good. I am living in Javea (Spain) and the plants have sunshine all day. Peggy

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hello Peggy,
      It’s great to hear from you.
      I’m pleased you like the videos and that you are having such success with your tomatoes.
      let us know how you get on this summer!
      Best wishes,
      Nick

  7. William
    | Reply

    Hi Nick
    Thanks for the news letter, got 11 plants in the greenhouse all coming on well with no problems so far. Got shirley, moneymaker,alicante, and a bush one looking forward to your next news letter keep up the good work Nick Im a novice so heres hopeing all go’es well thanks again for your time.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi William,
      Thanks for your comment – sounds like you are doing very well!
      Best wishes,
      Nick

  8. Jan
    | Reply

    Hi Nick
    Love the newsletter and feeling of being in the tomato club, thanks for all your efforts plus swanky videos this year! My TTs are already in their topsy turvey planter and have been enjoying the sunshine here in the southeast. In fact I had a wry grin at your advice about keeping leaves dry – we are positively arid here and gasping for any hint of rain! I am careful when watering not to wet the leaves. The Gardeners Delight are now fab plants about 18″ high in their growbags. Am trying ring culture this year for the first time. All toms grown from seed in the sow along. Have also got a flower fountain container – tiered set of three round baskets on a stand – but planting out yellow and red tumbling toms should look great. First hint of flowers on the GD appearing this week. Cheers and happy tom growing, regards from the Garden of England. Jan

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Jan,
      Thank you for taking the time to let us know about your tomato growing so far this season. I’m pleased you like the tomato club and videos.
      We’ve had a reasonable amount of rain here in Birmingham but showers that only last an hour or so.
      The flower fountain should look fab planted with TTs and red and yellow toms – it always amazes me what you can get with just a few seeds!
      Keep in touch and let us know how you get on with the grow pots and ring culture.
      Best wishes,
      Nick

  9. roy hawker
    | Reply

    hi,nick,i will be using comfrey and nettles thats,been brewing in a 40 gallon drum for three weeks to feed my toms it smells like hell but its a great feed they love it and its free kind regards roy

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Roy, It sounds almost good enough to drink – I’ll have a pint please!
      Cheers,
      Nick

  10. Deedee
    | Reply

    thanks for all your good advice, keep up the good work, I look forward to the emails on a Friday.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Thanks Deedee, I appreciate your kind words!
      Nick

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