How are you getting on with  the Nisbett’s Victoria tomato seeds that we gave out in April?

Our in-house plant doctor, Dr. Terry Brokenshire offers the following advice.

Growth stage: your plants should now have at least one flowering truss. They readily self-pollinate but gently shake the flowers to encourage the pollen to dislodge. Continue to remove the side shoots when they are about an inch long. This will ensure that all the energy is directed into fruit development and that the plant is manageable. Tie in the main stem every few weeks.

Feeding and watering: it is most important to keep the roots moist (not wet). Plants with dry roots often develop fruit with blackened ends (blossom end rot). Plants grown in pots or grow bags should be watered regularly as they tend to dry out quite quickly. Soil-grown plants require less watering. Overwatering can initiate root disease where the plants wilt and the leaves turn yellow. Twice a week apply a high potash tomato liquid feed when watering to help sustain the developing fruit.

Outdoor tomatoes: in view of the cool wet weather we are having currently I would suggest applying a copper-based fungicide to the foliage and fruit to prevent blight. It is often too late to gain control of this disease once it has established. Prevention is better than cure. Continue with regular sprays paying attention to the instructions on the packet.

Indoor tomatoes: less likely to get blight so no control needed, however, the glasshouse environment is more conducive to insect attack. Check the plants regularly for aphids and whitefly. If found apply a weak soap solution based on washing up liquid. Use 1ml of washing up liquid in 1 litre of water.

If you have any specific problems then come to the walled garden on a Thursday when I will be available to give advice.  TB