Keep caring for your tomatoes

They’re easy plants but do need a little bit of attention

Keep your toms well  watered and fed

by Geoff Stebbings |

Most of us have a few tomato plants. They’re simple to grow and so rewarding. They produce good crops for the space they need and can be grown in borders, pots or even windowboxes. They’re easier, and less prone to blight, if grown under cover, but a simple plastic-covered mini-greenhouse is all you need.

Plants should be growing strongly now and will need some care. You may see that foliage at the top of the plants is curled but this isn’t always a cause for alarm. If leaves are curling downwards at the ends it’s usually normal and a sign of strong growth and the leaves will develop normally as they mature. But if leaves are curled up at the edges and tips it’s often a sign plants are either too dry or need more feeding. These leaves don’t mature to normal size and they often have brown tips.

Watering is also important because a lack of moisture at the roots can damage the flowers and fruit. If plants are allowed to dry out so much that the leaves wilt it can damage the fruits. The effects won’t be seen immediately but the developing fruits will develop black, sunken areas at the ends of the tomatoes, called blossom-end rot. Plants in pots and containers are more prone to drying out than plants in the soil or greenhouse border.

Cut or snap off sideshoots from the main stem as they grow
Cut or snap off sideshoots from the main stem as they grow ©Geoff Stebbings

Top tips

Cut or snap off sideshoots from the main stem as they grow to avoid a tangled mess of branches and small fruit.

Never allow plants to dry out and once fruit sets feed at least once a week. Increase feeding as the plants get bigger.

Help fruit set by tapping the plants, especially flower clusters, which dislodges pollen and fertilises the flowers.

Keep plants upright by tying to canes regularly. Plants get very heavy when carrying a good crop.

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