Following a comment on this website regarding removing side shoots from tomatoes plants, here is an update post on how I look after my tomato plants in order to get a good crop.
By now your tomato plants are likely to be of an average height of 9 inches (depending on when you sowed or planted them and where they are growing and care for). The tomatoes grown in my greenhouse are actually taller than the other outdoor specimen which I planted not that long ago and both are bearing flowers. The size of the plant is not a concern since it will all come in good time with the warm summer which we shall hopefully continue to enjoy (although it is cold and raining heavily today!).
So what do I need to do now to make sure that I get a delicious crop of tomatoes? For me just a bit of maintenance is enough as follows :
1. Removing side shoots:
Early on I try to make sure that I remember to remove the side shoots as they appear on cordon tomatoes only. I tend to focus on the shoots that start from the bottom part of the tomato plant stem. I often forget some side shoots but in my personal experience it doesn’t do any harm and I still get a good crop.
2. Staking the plants:
One of the most important task to do as the plant grows quickly and needs supports otherwise the wind may break you tomato plant and you’re left with a weak plant. I simply use bamboo canes and twine to support my plants.
3. Tomato water and feed:
Feeding tomato plants once a week if you remember to do it is great. I prefer to use an organic high-potash fertilizer from the moment my tomato plants start developing flowers. Sometimes I also give them a seaweed fertilizer which is organic and quite a comprehensive feed (although a bit expensive but I don’t over use it).
What about tomato diseases?
I don’t spray my tomatoes against diseases since I prefer to grow organic vegetables and in the past years I have done well without any chemicals. However two years ago when we had the floods I recall that everybody in the UK had to fight the dreaded tomato blight disease. Even Monty Don who had decided that year on the Gardener’s world TV programme to grow most of his tomatoes outdoor had a poor result.
I also like to grow companion plants next to my tomato plants and you can see in the above picture a little marigold next to the plant. This is supposed to deter predators which are likely to damage my plants and in this particular case I believe it is the strong smell of the marigold which confuses the predators. And it also looks good!
Finally, let’s not forgetting the best tasks of all: harvesting! And the more you harvest, the more you get in my personal experience. Also, it prevents the pests such as mice which I have seen in my greenhouse from temptation.