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So I have three tomatoe plants, they are a beefstake, sweet million and sun baby. I though I knew what I was doing with them but that stopped now they are growing their yellow flowers and I have come to a halt. I have tried reading guides/manuals/online how to/wiki and google but find it so confusing as it is for avid gardeners...I just love tomatoes and want to have my own proudly grown supply!

Can anybody help me with them please?!!

The vitial stats are;

The 3 plants are sitting in my front garden in a long black trough style pot next to each other, they are about a foot and a half high, tied to bamboo canes to support them.

They are in direct sunlight (not in a greenhouse I dont have one) all day as my garden faces the sun.

Each plant has flowers now, two just have the green buds coming, one has yellow open flowers that are now starting to wilt and hve gone limp and look like they are about to die! This plant also has some white spots on a few of the leaves.

I water them from the roots morning and some evenings about 6pm if the compost looks dry.

I have not used any liquid feed on them yet but have some miracle grow stuff in the shed ready.


Thankyou to anybody who can pass on any tips, however small or big they maybe!

thats brilliant thanks found it really helpfull!


Dotty, do you mean you're watering every day? They don't need that much water. Let the mix dry out.

What sort of Miracle Grow fertiliser do you have in the shed? Standard all-purpose Miracle Grow isn't suitable for toms. It has way too much nitrogen. You'll end up with lots of foliage at the expense of fruit. You'd be better off buying a tomato-specific fertiliser. Don't use it till you get your first fruit setting and use it only sparingly afterwards.

hi yes every day, the soil looks very dry and sandy if i dont.  the miracle grow is for toms and veggies it has directions on the back, but i might get a potash one ive read about this. 

anyone else having trouble with lack of bees around too? 



First question is how big is the trough? Next question is if it is only about 6 inches deep, and maybe 6 wide, you really will need to move them. (no small task without losing them or severely setting them back) Italophile is right (as usual on tommy matters!) the trick with tomatoes is the watering and feeding. Most people grow toms in 'growbags' which really aren't fit for purpose if you ask me. You plant 3 plants in one then have to water every day and still get split fruit or problems from over-watering. I much prefer to plant my toms in large pots (typically 16"), good drainage is essential, so a good couple of inches of coarsely broken up polystyrene in the bottom is a must. I usually mix in some of my soil to a compost mix with a dash of sharp sand too. (my soil is clay, but it helps give the peat free compost some 'weight' and helps it hold on to moisture) I find this way I don't have to water everyday unless it's been really hot, and the plant has plenty of space to grow a great set of roots and so really throw everything into producing fruit. I'm not saying my way is the best or easiest, but it's what works for me, and it's lots easier than the growbag method.

Back to growing beefsteak outside, you really are an optomist, lets hope we have a terrific summer, otherwise you'll have blight long before your fruits have even finished swelling, let alone ripening. I did the same first time I started, it's a learning curve, currently only toms I grow with any success outside would be tumbling toms. This is mainly due to the size of the fruits and how little heat they need to ripen. I wish you good luck, lets us know how you get on.

PS, it's normal the flowers wilt and fade, it's what they do, the fruit grows from behind them.


Dotty, what sort of soil are they planted in? Commercial potting mix? It sounds very odd that the soil is dry and sandy when it's being watered every day.

Like BB, I'd like to know the dimensions of the trough, too.

Have a look at the Miracle Grow pack. You'll see figures for N, P and K. That's Nitrogen, Phosphorous and the K stands for Potassium. What are the numbers on the pack? They're the key figures to look at in fertilisers for toms.

For toms, the N figure should be low, the P and K figures substantially higher.

Thankyou for all of your help everybody, thee are the first lot of homegrown veggies ive tried so all of your advice helps!

The trough isnt big at all im not sure how big I cant find my tape measure or my camera or I would show you on here  but as a rough guess and from what you have said it is defiantly too small, I am going to get some big pots from the garden center tomorrow.

I only decided to attempt to grow beefstakes as I absoluty LOVE them and in my little dream world thought I would have a luscious supply to munch on as I pleased haha. A girl can dream....

Italophile-yes it is bog standard multi purpose compost from the garden center,it said it was good for growing veggies on the back of it, I took said compost bags advice


I think when I go to get my big containers I will treat myself to some tumbling toms aswell....


Has anybody got any piccies of their toms? I feel like they are my babies are the moment!





A recent Beechgrove Garden showed a tomato grower who has gotten huge crops from very small pots with very little compost. He has been doing this for many years too. He does feed them every day though. Have a look on iPlayer.


Currently wilkinson are doing the 4 tier greenhouse for just 17.99 I think. They have 4 shelves and a cover, the great thing is you can take the shelves out and stick two beef stakes in their new pots inside, should help protect from the blight, just be sure to unzip the cover if it's a sunny day! The great thing about using these mini greenhouses rather than the cheaper 'tomato greenhouses' are the shelves. Next year come march april, they are great with the shelves in for hardening off plants and seedlings. Just be sure to secure them very well to a wall. They do have a penchant for blowing away in the wind! Good luck.

steephill wrote (see)

A recent Beechgrove Garden showed a tomato grower who has gotten huge crops from very small pots with very little compost. He has been doing this for many years too. He does feed them every day though. Have a look on iPlayer.

It is possible, but if you want to be tied to the GH morning and night for the growing season I guess this is what to go for. Maybe he lives in the GH? Reason I've ended up with big pots is I just found the watering was not fun at all, not morning and night, and still getting split fruits and blossom end rot. If I manage to sell off all my sunflowers and pumpkins and courgettes at the school fair in next week or so, I'm using the money to maybe invest in a hydroponic setup.


If you are going to repot them, i'd buy a grow bag when your at the garden centre, and use that in the pots, i think the quality of growbag compost seems much better than multipurpose which has been terrible recently (there are a few threads about this). 


Dotty, you generally get what you pay for with potting mix. It's worthwhile investing in top quality stuff. The cheaper ones can be rubbish. If the "trough" is as small as you seem to be suggesting that could explain why the mix is drying out so quickly.

Beefsteaks grow into big plants - 6' tall or more - with strong root systems. Put them into decent-sized pots with top quality mix. Given that they need to be staked, you'd need pots at least 35cm deep in order to give the stake sufficient mix to hold it up. Too shallow a pot and the stake won't be stable. A strong wind will blow the stake over, taking the plant with it.

Here are a couple of my beefsteak varieties in the ground. They've been in around 5 weeks and have a lot of growing to do yet.


The first BRANDYWINE OTV fruit:



your beefstakes are huge! all three of my plants arnt that bushy at all...i think im too impatient for tom plants haha. ive looked at some greenhouses on ebay, they are about £10 on there for a gardman 4 tier one.


My Black Russian grew to in excess of 7 ft in the greenhouse last year, in fact I had to do some judicial pruning to increase fruit exposure and improve ventilation, oh and not to mention the fact they were getting in the way!

If you have the room a proper GH is the way to go, it's remarkable what you can get in your local area on ebay and gumtree. I often see people offering GH that they have no interest in (have just moved and they don't garden!) for very very cheap, or free if you can dismantle and collect. If you have a helpful husband you'd be amazed what is achieveable even on a very tight budget.



Dotty, mine have been in the ground for 5 weeks and the weather has really warmed up recently into the mid-20s. Ideal growing conditions. They've got a lot more growing to do yet.


And you're in a much warmer climate Italophile  


Yes, I gather that. Though it has taken a long time to turn up this year. We've had the coldest, wettest spring in decades. What are you doing up so early?


I'm always up at 5.30 on a weekday - put the kettle on, go out into the garden check the toms, courgettes etc, and make sure the hedgehogs have eaten their supper   Then I sit down with a coffee, answer emails and noodle on here for a bit before heading off to work ....


Pfffffffffffft. Call that a day's work?