tomato plantThis year I’m determind to make a go of growing tomatoes. Last year I grew Gardeners Delight but even though I knew I had to pinch out the shoots inbetween the trusses I didn’t keep up with it and consequently I ended up with a bush-like plant and very small tomatoes. This year I decided to buy my tomato plants from the nursery (to save space at home more than anything). I bought them this weekend they are: Gardeners Delight (x2), Shirley, Sun Belle (plum variety) and Supersweet 100 (cherry bush variety). All except the bush variety are cordons which means I’ll have to keep on top of the ‘pinching out’. I’ve planted them out already (after a night under fleece in my back garden). I spaced them about 40 cm apart and gave each one a sturdy cane for support. They’re doing well!
From reading around I’ve learned that tomatoes have one long tap root and lots of small ‘feeding’ roots near the soil level. The tap root is searching for water and the feeding roots are looking for food. The tap root needs a constant supply of water so I have saved five Avian water bottles specifically to help me with this. I have nailed some holes in the cap, sliced off the bottom and sunk it into the ground beside the tomatoes (I actually did this before I planted them so as not to damage the roots). I plan to fill this up once a day and the water will drip, drip through the holes. Hopefully this will give them enough constant water so they won’t split from over watering. I’ll feed the tomatoes too (with Tomorite probably) once a week but this will be watered directly onto the ground so that the feeding roots can gather the food. According to Sarah Raven you only need to feed your tomatoes once they have flowered and are setting fruit.

6 Comments on “Tomatoes

  1. last year my gardening friend Billy came down and regularly ‘attacked’ my tomato plants as he dissaproves of them not all standing to attention with their arms out!! I know he has a good point about the resulting crop but I find it so hard to do,

  2. I just didn’t have time. Hopefully now the tomatoes are a little nearer to home I will keep on top of it.

  3. Hullo, Sorry to drag you back in time…I am growing my first tomatoes and was wondering whether your water bottle idea worked? I’ve had a brief look around your blog (which is just as good as everyone says :-) but I can’t find a follow up. My toms are probably going to end up in grow bags as I’ve only just aquired a garden (previous owners dumped a lot of sub-soil onto it when they did their extension so not much hope of me finding room in the rubble for a while)Is the bottle trick worth it or should I stick to my watering can?


  4. Hi Rach, Thanks for asking. I will probably do an update on this once my tomatoes are in.

    In answer to your question about whether the bottle idea worked, the answer is yes but only at first.

    When the bottles where clean and new they worked like a treat. Once they had been in the ground a few weeks they started to get dirty and the hole in the lid got blocked.

    I then had to dig up the bottle and clear the hole and then re-sink it into the ground (not very convenient). Then the hole got blocked again and I gave up.

    Plus the dirty bottles looked a little unsightly really. This year I might try a different method – if I can think of one.

  5. I have 3 window boxes (the best I could do in a small London flat) with 7 cherry tomato plants in them which are flowering nicely and have about 10 bunches of green tomatoes of various sizes.
    I was wondering about ripening the tomatoes by placing a clear plastic sandwich/food bag over the bunches. I don’t know whether this is a good idea or not as I haven’t read about this anywhere, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t be ok. This would hopefully quicken up the ripening, and might also mean that I could stagger the crop?
    What do you think? Do you think forcing them to ripen might make them taste poop (although it couldn’t be too different than growing in a green house?)?

  6. Hi Dan,

    I’ve never heard of anyone doing that before so maybe you could give it a go. I would suggest that maybe it wouldn’t work though as tomatoes are very susceptible to fungal diseases (such as Blight) and so putting then in a hot steaming bag might just make it worse! I could be wrong thought.