• Sunday, June 07th, 2009

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.

My Greenhouse Tomatoes

My Greenhouse Tomatoes

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.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses

  1. 1

    My question is, tomato plants were doing real well…now it changes and
    what I don’t know is why part of leaves are turning to yellow and curl up. Is this mean lack of water or some sort of desease causes it.
    Las Vegas is one of the hotest sport, I realized, but I need some help.
    Also, I found a very large/huge green worms eating leaves, is it what
    causes the problem. I have not used any sort of spray….
    Thank you for your help & expertise. Patty

  2. 2
    The Gardener 

    It’s difficult to diagnose your problem without seeing the tomatoes but I guess the problem with the yellow leaves on your tomato plant may be caused by the following:
    It could be that you are not feeding your tomato plants enough – in which case you just need to make sure that you feed your tomato on a weekly basis and that the soil is kept moist.
    Alternatively it could be a fungus issue in which case you would have to go the garden centre and ask for an organic fungus treatment for tomato plant. However I think that it is unlikely to be this.
    What concerns me most is the worms which you mentioned and which are likely to be at the root of the problem. In which case you will need an organic (preferably) pesticide. So in a nutshell I would try my first suggestion and keep an eye on the worms and if they are still there then the pesticide will be your last resort.
    I hope that this helps!

  3. 3
    Frances Whelan 

    I have searched all over for a simple question and I think you have answered it here. However, I have mine in a hanging upside down planter. It is beautiful. I have been feeding it with Miracle Grow for Tomatoes and now I have 10 small fruit. Should I continue once a week with fruit on the vines?

    Thank you. Wish I could send you a picture its amazing.

  4. 4
    The Gardener 

    Yes, I confirm that you should continue to feed your tomatoes once a week particularly with the fruit on the vines since the plant needs all the nutrients to continue to grow healthily.
    It sounds like you are doing a great job and I guess that the plant must look great in the hanging basket type container.
    Hopefully with the return of the sun the tomatoes will start to ripen soon!

  5. 5

    Q? I am new to tomatoes; this is the first year since my retirement, that I have actually had the time to LOOK at these little urchins ! Now I have, I need to know what I m looking at ? I have just grasped the first nuance of ‘Tomato Technique’, by understanding that I am supposed to remove the small shoots that appear at the apex, between the tomatoe’s main shoot and it’s branches. However, I fail to understand the other types of branches, shoots or ‘hanger-ons’, that make up the whole thingy !!! Is there a visual site, where I can learn how to trim the delectable specimen, in clearly explained language? Thanks ? Keith.

  6. 6
    The Gardener 

    Indeed removing side shoots for certain varieties of tomatoes is important as it will encourage bigger crops. If you want to see how this is done then the BBC website provides professional advice on how to remove tomato side shoots.
    I hope this helps.
    Sandy from My garden diary.

  7. 7

    how do i know what are side shoots

  8. my plant is outside but instead of being 9 inches tall it over 4 feet it is already got toms and flowers am i doing anything wrong we feed it once a week but needs watering almost daily

  9. 9

    why has my tomatoe leaf turn yellow at the bottom thanks

Leave a Reply