From sowing, which can be left to professionals, to weather protection, there is no shortage of techniques and tips for growing tomatoes. Watering, planting, pruning …
The tomato gardener reveals 5 secrets for growing your tomatoes like a real pro. Good advice to take to achieve good harvests this year
What a pleasure to feast on with good tomatoes for several months. Try several varieties, sizes, shapes, colors, and different tastes. You multiply the chances of enjoying yourself!
Commercial plants or seed who wins?
Commercial plants: you can’t do more practical because you only buy them when you are ready to plant them. But they can be expensive (up to £2.50 apiece!) Diversity is not always there, especially if you decide a little late.
When sowing, remember to label them well with the names of the varieties, it will be easier to spot them later. Seed grown plants: they are more economical and you will have greater diversity.
But making your own tomato plants requires equipment and care … A veranda or a bright space behind a large window is the minimum condition for it to be worth getting started.
Shelter, tomato insurance?
Perforated plastic skirts or transparent plastic roofs do not make tomatoes invincible against mildew.
However, they delay the onset of problems and prevent a wet spell from spoiling your crops.
Use in addition to other techniques, in particular, a sulfur treatment every 15 days, as soon as the temperature rises above 20 ° C.
Also remember to space your plants well, leaving 60 cm in between.
Regular pruning is a must.
To be cut without fail: the gourmands that form in the axils of the leaves in varieties with an undetermined habit, as well as the leaves that touch the ground.
Also, remove the first flower in varieties with very large fruits (often deformed).
No need to prune, however, cherry tomatoes, the port of which naturally forms a bush. Varieties with a specific habit (the early ones) also do not need pruning). The so-called “cocktail” tomatoes do not cut either.
At the time of planting
A little pozzolan at the bottom of the pot guarantees good drainage.
At the bottom of the planting hole, incorporate an organic fertilizer rich in potash, respecting the dosage indicated on the packaging.
Burying 20 cm of the stem (even placing the plant at an angle in the hole) so that roots appear underground on the base of the stem is really a plus.
In a pot, garnish the bottom of the container well with a draining element, such as pozzolana (above).
Another tip is to use the lunar calendar to plant your tomatoes.
Double grafted tomatoes
In garden centers, you will find grafted tomato plants. On these plants, the top of one plant (the scion) has been “welded” to the root system of another plant (the rootstock).
The rootstock gives resistance to disease and vigor, as we choose
the graft for the quality or flavor of the fruit. Two varieties can be grafted onto the same rootstock (like Cornabel and Gourmandia, photo below). More expensive, they are also more efficient.
The yields are higher (about 70% more vegetables), and the harvest period is longer (a week earlier … and a week later), the varieties are chosen from among the tastiest and the plants are more resistant. .
These plants tolerate beginners’ mistakes and the vagaries of the weather.
Water them, but spare the foliage
There are several ways to water the tomatoes (hose, watering can, drip), but the most important is not to wet the foliage (risk of development of diseases, late blight).
Remember to water them regularly, every day in high heat – space the watering if the soil is humid.
And you can mulch the base to allow the soil to retain some moisture (limited evaporation); this allows a little space between the waterings.