Growing Tomatoes

Once you have sown your tomato seeds, seen them germinate, then planted them, you must look after them to raise a crop successfully.

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The usual method of growing tomatoes is as cordons, ie they have one main stem with leaves and trusses (sprigs of tomatoes) coming off it although some varieties can be grown as bushes which have muliple stems. There are also trailing varieties that can be grown in containers and hanging baskets. Extra care must be taken if tomatoes are grown in containers, baskets or 'growbags' that they do not dry out.

Cordon cultivation

  • As the plants grow, periodically tie them to the bamboo poles you put in when they were planted.
  • Every few days check for side growths between the main stem and leaf stems and remove them when they are large enough to handle, probably about one inch long.
  • When there are four or five trusses of tomatoes on a plant, remove the growing tip from the main stem about two leaves above the top truss so that the plant's energy goes into growing and ripening the fruit.

General Cultivation

  • Do not allow tomatoes to dry out. If they do, the fruit might split or the crop reduced.
  • In dry weather, they can need as much as 2 gallons (about 10 litres) per plant weekly.
  • More on Tomatoes
    Seeding and Planting Tomatoes
    Tomato Pests & Disease
    Troubleshooting Tomato Problems
    Tomato Recipes
  • Once the first fruit has set, feed with a special high potash tomato fertilizer, following the directions on the bottle.
  • Harvest tomatoes as they ripen.
  • If the weather turns cool before all the fruit have ripened, usually September or October, it might be possible to ripen them on sunny windowsills or by wrapping them individually in clean newspaper and put them in a drawer or box. A few ripe tomatoes or a banana is said to help the process. Personally, I prefer to make green tomato chutney because tomatoes ripened this way are never as good as those ripened naturally in my opinion.

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