Homebase UK provide advice on June gardening jobs
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Home-grown tomatoes can make a great addition to meals all summer long. They are often rewarding to grow, producing a delicious crop of juicy, red fruits once they are ready to be harvested. While they are generally easy to care for, one expert has shared how to get the plant to produce an “abundance of tomatoes” this summer.
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In limited spaces, Jack Shilley, Head of Plants at Muddy Trowel recommended to choose a miniature or trailing variety of tomato such as the Tumbling Tom.
This variety can be planted in hanging baskets or window boxes.
For larger window boxes or containers, the expert recommended going for two tomato plants.
The only thing all tomato varieties have in common is how much they love to be watered.
Jack explained: “Tomatoes are thirsty, give them a daily soaking.
“In order to keep your tomato plants looking their best and producing an abundance of tomatoes through the summer, it’s important not to allow them to dry out.
“If your plant has been allowed to wilt, they are less likely to flower and the fruit they produce could be smaller.
“Water them daily, especially on hot days.”
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If tomatoes are being grown against a hot or sheltered wall, they may even need to be watered twice a day.
Jack added: “This also depends on the size of pot you have, the smaller or shallower it is, the more watering you’ll need to do.”
Tomatoes like to be watered often because they need lots of sunshine to survive.
The expert said location can help tomatoes to “thrive” and “grow fully”.
He added: “Tomatoes like it warm, but not roasting hot, so try and factor that in with your positioning.
“If you have lots of fruit, try to protect these from direct sunlight as the fruit could become scorched.
“They will still be edible, but won’t look as nice, so leave foliage in place.
“If it’s in a pot, turn the fruit away from any hot, direct sunlight. This is important because tomato plants won’t grow or flower in the shade unfortunately.”
In addition to tomatoes being thirsty, they also get very hungry.
The plant expert explained: “They need an abundance of nutrients to produce the biggest, best and tastiest tomatoes.
“Use a good general purpose feed while your plants start to grow, then use a feed that has a high potash content (that’s the K in the NPK on fertiliser packs) such as tomorite, as this will give the plant more strength.
“This in turn will encourage more blooms, better fruit and healthier growth.”
It is recommended to feed fortnightly, or if gardeners have lots of fruit, weekly.
The expert warned gardeners to follow instructions for dilution if required.
To get the “best” from your tomato plants, the plant expert recommended “pinching out” side shoots.
He said this can “encourage bigger, more bountiful fruit”.
Jack continued: “You’ll notice that your plant has one, thicker, main stem with leaves coming from this.
“Where these leaves join the main stem, you will start to see new branches growing, remove these new branches and this will encourage your plant to focus its energy on producing flowers and therefore tomatoes, rather than lots of leafy growth.
“You’ll want to leave the growth tip at the very top of your main stem though.
“If any of your fruit fails or looks damaged, diseased or otherwise, it’s best to remove these too so that your plant can once again focus its energy elsewhere.”
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