There’s nothing like having fresh tomatoes to use in meals, particularly if the tomato plants are just a few feet away. These plants can be easily grown outside or in a greenhouse, and it’s never too late or too early to start planning your garden and what to plant.
Although you might come across a few tomato plant problems, specialised products such as a veg boost makes sure that your tomato plants have the best possible start from seeds to full-grown plants. Add some tomato feed for even and healthy growth – and a bloom booster ensures that your tomato plants have beautiful flowers to precede delicious tomato fruits – and your tomatoes will be happy plants.
The four main types of tomato plants are:
A few factors need to be taken into consideration before deciding on which tomato variety to plant, factors like maturity time, how the plant grows, resistance to diseases, and the tomato’s flavour and texture.
You can grow cordon tomatoes (indeterminate) or bush tomatoes (determinate), the former requires vertical anchors to grow properly and the latter grows as a bush and doesn’t need any support. With cordon tomatoes, you need to keep an eye on side-shoots and remove them to prevent energy sapping. These side-shoots grow where the main stem and leaf branches meet.
Beginners to growing might confuse them for new fruit truss, which absolutely shouldn’t be removed. When unsure, it’s best to wait a few days to see if it produces any leaves. If it does, it needs to be removed, as it’s a side-shoot.
Cordon tomatoes can reach 6ft, or 1.8m, and are easy to sow around March or April if you’re planning on planting them outdoors. Should you choose to grow them in a greenhouse, for example, you can sow them around late February.
Use small pots for indoor sowing, in which a propagator is ideal for even growth. Seeds should be placed in cubes of one inch by one inch in compact substrate for better water absorption. Seeds typically start to germinate after 10-14 days.
Tomato seedlings require a temperature of approximately 18°C and need to be transplanted into four-inch pots when they gain two true leaves. As soon as flowers from the first fruit truss start to open, the plants should be transferred to nine-inch pots. Tie cordon tomatoes’ main stem to a vertical and well-anchored support.
Tomato plants need to be watered regularly so that the soil has an even moisture level and to prevent the fruit from splitting. Every ten days to two weeks, apply feed to ensure the healthiest possible growth.
When you see a uniform red colour on your tomatoes, approximately 60 days after planting, then they’re ready to be harvested and enjoyed.
There are a few common issues and diseases that can interfere with the development of your tomato plants’. It’s common to see tomatoes splitting and opening when there’s irregular watering, something that can be solved with a regular watering regime.
Blossom end rot and calcium deficiency are often connected, as a calcium deficiency turns the base of tomatoes dark and makes them start rotting. Underwatering could be one of the causes, with tomatoes slowing their calcium uptake when there isn’t enough water.
With the appearance of small moths, whiteflies are a common tomato pest. They lay their eggs on the leaves’ underside for them to feed on, which creates a sticky secretion that can lead to other diseases. Encarsia formosa is a type of small wasp commonly used to control populations of whiteflies and should be applied to tomato plants as soon as possible.
Aphids are a common pest for many plants that you can easily control by introducing ladybirds, who eat aphids. Marigolds are good flowers to plant to attract these beneficial insects.
The fungus Phytophthora infestans causes tomato and potato blight. The leaves on your plant develop brown marks, which increases in size and eventually spreads to the fruit and causes it to turn brown and rot.
If you notice tomato plant leaves becoming yellow, then turn bronze, and eventually distorted, then your plants potentially suffer from one of the many varieties of mosaic virus. With this virus having high infection levels, it’s vital that you take precautions so you don’t spread them from plan to plant through human contact.
Greenhouse tomatoes often suffer from tomato leaf mould, in which yellow spots appear on the upper leaves’ surfaces and a grey-brown mould growth appears on the corresponding lower leaves’ surfaces. When it becomes serious, this mould also spreads to the upper leaves’ surfaces. Adequate ventilation helps to prevent this disease from taking over your tomato plants.
With our wide range of products, you’re sure to find exactly what you need to make sure that your tomato plants and your garden all grow healthy and happy. Get in touch with us on 01695 554 080 to know more about what we do – we’re always happy to help.
Whether you are an expert who already has a thriving crop of healthy plants, or you are trying to grow your very first hydroponic garden, we can help you to grow the strong and healthy crops you have always wanted.
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