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man in a shed









Hi all , got my first allotment in january and my first greenhouse 2 months ago.I grew

san marzano from seed  now in the greenhouse. just wondered if they are bushy or tall ( not sure of the technical jargon) posted a few photos ,do i need to trim off the shoots that are growing at the bottom of the stem and what about feeding them ? just starting to get flowers in the past few days .thx. got carried away with the photos





Good pics Man in a s. You've already got canes in and rightly so these will need tying to canes as they grow. Removing shoots I assume you mean the shoots that grow between the main stem and horizontal leaf stalks. Correct.

I think this variety, I might be wrong are plum tomatoes, tasty and very good for cooking, less seeds, more pulp.  

man in a shed

Thx kef. ye i've removed those shoots  but there are new shoots growing at the base of the plant at soil level, quite thick ones,is this the norm ?should i snip em off below first true leaf ? do the plants look healthy u think ? got some tomotorite(?) when do i feed my babies ? what's the score with watering? once a week?when the soil feels dry?a little every day?tube inserted into soil to allow water to the roots? u just know !     cheers


 lovin allotment life

I never grew tomatoes before this year - was given two packets of mixed seeds as a Xmas pressie. All 120 seeds germinated so, like the fool I am,  I pricked them all out into 3 inch pots. I ended up selling them in May at a foot high and in bud for a local charity. I kept 15 mixed plants for myself in the conservatory. We haven't been able to sit in it for some weeks now as the tomatoes ( now in 12inch pots) have grown to 9 feet high. Of all the varieties, San Marzano has been the trickiest to please. I water them twice a day but even so the S.M. Fruits have suffered from blossom end rot which I read is caused by lack of water at flower setting time. Other varieties have had no problems at all.

So I would say keep them drenched and keep your fingers crossed.

the other varieties I have are Cuore di Bue, Costolut Fiorentino, Marmande, Golden Sunrise, Gardeners Delight, Ciliegia, Money Maker and Tigerella. All from B & Q Seeds - I recommend them!

i don't think I'll be doing it next year as I want my conservatory back.


They are bush tomatoes.

You can easily tell if you are over-watering tomatoes as excess water will come out of the pores on the edge of the leaves.

In my experience blossom-end rot is caused by inconsintant watering, but there are many theories about the cause.  Some varieties are prone to it.



Man in a shed. Remove the "new" stems that are growing from the base of the plant. Feed as directed on the bottle but not until you have a set truss on the plant...that is one bunch of flowers that have dropped off leaving baby toms there. Watering, I grow in pots so it's easy to tell if they need water, I would poke a finger into soil and if they feel dry water theml. Don't wet the plant leaves & don't drown them, they don't want to be sitting in mud. Some say wait until sun gone down to water, but I water when they need it, just don't splash them.

They are looking good, and a very tasty variety, long plum shaped. Google them.

Courgette looking good.

man in a shed

Thx for your replies.I chose san marzano for cooking, most italian recipes use them(tinned)but wished i'd chosen a few more varieties,but didn't have a greenhouse at the time.Next year i'll try different ones. Thx again


San Marzano are usually indeterminates rather than a bush variety. They're the classic Italian plum-shaped tom that you get in good quality imported tinned toms. They're better for sauces than, say, salads because of the high ratio of flesh to juice.

Yes, nip off the little sucker growths from around the base of the plant. And it's a good idea to keep a gap of around at least a foot between the soil and the lowest foliage. Fungal spores can and will fall from the foliage to the soil and can be splashed back up again when watering. The gap helps guard against this.

SM, like a lot of plum varieties, are prone to Blossom End Rot. I've had it on SM plants planted immediately beside other varieties that haven't been affected. BER is associated with plant stress, but, for some reason, plum varieties are also genetically prone to it. No one knows why.

Less is better with both water and fertiliser with toms. Certainly don't feed them before the first fruit appears.

These are some of my toms in the ground after 12 weeks. I planted them with a handful of pelleted chook poo and they haven't had any fertiliser since. The temps here are in the low-30s and I water them once a week but very deeply. They're loaded with fruit.


 As I say, for toms, less is better with food and water.

man in a shed

Thx very much italophile,looks like i didn't pick the easiest tom to grow(for a beginer) oh well one of many lessons learned in my first year. How will i know if they get BER ? sounds scary


They're no harder to grow than any other tom. They just have a genetic predisposition to BER, that's all. And not just San Marzanos but most plum-shaped varieties. One day science will tell us why.

Blossom End Rot is a physiological condition related to the plant's inability to distribute calcium to the fruit via its internal system. There can be plenty of calcium available to the plants' roots, the internal system just can't distribute it.

It starts out as a pale, leathery blemish on the bottom end of the fruit and gradually darkens into a sunken patch.

There's no saving the fruit by cutting out the affected area unfortunately. It goes on the compost heap. It's not a fungal problem so it won't infect the compost heap.


Sorry, San Mazarno is indeterminate; an error on my part.


They mainly are, Welshonion. The original heirloom and subsequent hybrids are. I have seen hybrid SMs being sold as semi-indeterminates growing to about 4 feet. Someone has obviously been doing some cross-breeding.

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