Growing Tomato seeds is one of the most rewarding things that a gardener can do. In a small space you can grow a plant that will yield about 40 tomatoes if conditions are right. To ensure your Tomatoes go bananas like mine then there are a few things to remember and a few tips and bits of advice to help you on your way
Watering is essential for good tomatoes and if you want to grow your own you will need to be prepared to water them every second day during the summer months to keep their soil moist at all times. One 10 Litre watering can should be enough for 3 plants. You need to water to a depth of 8inches for suitable root growth. Watering in the morning gives the best results and if you grow tomatoes you should aim to water them with the same amount of water at the same time each day. Irregular watering can lead to Blossom End Rot (overwatering) and split fruits (infrequent watering)
Feeding is essential to ensure fruits are ripe, big and plentiful. If you feel that you have more fruits than your plant can handle then you should remove these branches. It is important to reduce all tomato plants to 5 to 7 fruiting trusses, as this will ensure al fruit has time to ripen. You will need to continue to remove any side shoots to keep your plant at a suitable size. Once your plant has developed 7 trusses you can remove the top growing point.
Liquid feeds are most common with Tomatoes. High Potassium based fertilisers encourage fruit development and disease resistance and these are best for Tomato plants. An alternative to Tomato feeds is to use Comfrey based fertilisers such as the Bio organic liquid plant food. This feed is like rocket fuel for Tomatoes.
Feed your Tomato plants every 2 weeks from the point of flowering until harvest. If you are watering your plants with a watering can you can add the fertiliser when watering. If you have an automated watering system you should reduce watering times and feed directly after watering
Basil is a companion plant of tomatoes and they grow well together and enoy the same warm temperatures. Plant Basil close to tomatoes to boost tomato growth by approx.. 20%. Basil will grow happily but would require some shade.
Avoid planting Chilli Peppers close to Tomatoes. Even though they again both like similar growing conditions the Peppers can attract Whiteflies
Stay vigilant for other pests such as slugs in the early weeks. Slugs can eat young seedlings leading to failure of crops. Also watch out for blight warnings – Tomatoes are from the same family as potatoes and suffer from Blight. Use a preventative such as Proxanil or Bordeaux Mixture
Pot size is essential for good yields. Allow 2ft or 60cm for each plant in a good, deep pot or raised bed. Tomatoes can also be grown directly in the soil which ensures a good rot space and less chance of them drying out