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!