How to grow ring culture tomatoes

Do it:

Mar, Apr, May

Takes just:

15 minutes

At its best:

Jul, Aug, Sep

Growing tomatoes with ring-culture pots involves surrounding the crop with a bottomless ring and adding layers of compost at 10-14 day intervals. This encourages the tomato to root from the stem so it can take up more water and nutrients than it would get from the growing bag alone. The result is vigorous, productive plants, and compost that remains moist helps reduce fruit splitting. Ready-made ring culture pots cost about £10 for three, but they can easily be made from 20cm pots.

You will need

  • Growing bag
  • 20cm pots x3
  • Secateurs
  • Good quality compost

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If making your own growing ring, start by cutting the bottom from a 20cm-diameter plastic pot using secateurs. If not, simply cut a hole in your growing bag and place the growing ring over it.

Plant the tomato in the compost, stake, firm and water well as you would normally. Then, add a 2-3cm layer of compost to the pot every 10-14 days, until it's full. Try to water the plant daily and give it a liquid feed every week.

Remove sideshoots from plants as you would normally. When fruits start to develop, remove leaves which would otherwise shade them, so they ripen fully.

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