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How to grow tomatoes in a greenhouse

Overview

Tomatoes will thrive in a greenhouse in midsummer with the right light, warmth, water and feed. But there's no point in ruining your hard work by watching the plant collapse under its own weight, when some simple staking will save the day. Nor do you want too many leaves when it's the precious fruits you want to savour, so here are a few timely tips to keep your plants on track for a bumper harvest.

How to do it

Tomato stems being tied up

1The first job is to stake up any tomato plants before they collapse under the weight of their fruit. Drive a bamboo cane into the soil next to the plant, taking care not to damage the roots, then tie the stems to the cane with twine, using a figure-of-eight knot, in one or more places, depending on how much support is needed.


Pinching out tomato sideshoots

2Removing sideshoots is an important job which prevents the fruits being shaded by leaves. It also diverts the plant's energy into the growing fruit, so making it more productive. And it's a simple task: simply grasp the young shoot, emerging between main stem and fruiting branch, and bend it sharply downwards to give a clean break from the branch. Try not to leave a stump behind that will die back.


Watering tomatoes

3As temperatures rise, keep watering your plants whenever you think they need it - daily or every other day, depending on the temperature. Tomatoes really benefit from additional feeding; in particular potash (found in specialised tomato feeds) will keep the plants cropping well. Check the label of the tomato feed you buy to see how frequently you should use it.


Adam's tip

Check plant ties regularly to ensure they're neither too loose nor are cutting into the stem. Keep adding canes for extra support as the plant grows.
If your first attempt at pinching out sideshoots isn't successful, nip out the remaining bit and remove it without damaging adjacent growth.



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Talkback: How to grow tomatoes in a greenhouse
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drobbins 24/11/2011 at 15:27

I have just bought my first greenhouse and spent all day yesterday planting up my seeds. I have gone veg mad. I will grow my tomatoes in there as i usual grow them outside but have not had much fruits for the last few years. If anyone could give me any tips would really like to here. happy gardening.

traceywh 24/11/2011 at 15:28

Have got first veg patch, got plenty growing have eaten cauli already with caterpillar. carrots are doing well but popping out of soil, do i cover them back up, like you do with potatoes? Toms are doing brill but again confused about side shoots, they are getting heavy as got plenty toms on them, have tied them up, do i just keep eye on the shoots?

habdabs 24/11/2011 at 15:28

The thing that is not covered here is whether or not to remove some of the actual large leaves as well as pinching out the shoots that appear in between the large leaves and the main stem.

I've been told by one person to take off most leaves because the energy then goes into the fruit and by someone else to leave them on because they are acting as an energy absorber.
I'm up to two trusses of fruit now so any advice would be gratefully received.

Alfalfa 24/11/2011 at 15:28

I have always found your static guides extremely useful and rarely need to ask a supplementary question. However I do have a question about your video projects. I ALWAYS have trouble viewing them.. I have successfully installed the latest Adobe Flash, Java, you name it, I've done it - uninstalled - reinstalled and still nothing. I have emailed you for advice, asked you if their is a problem your end, still nothing. I have no trouble watching your latest Volkswagen adverts!!

erin87 24/11/2011 at 15:28

I just have little seedlings at the moment about to break into their first set of true leaves. This is my first time growing tomatoes so hopefully all will go well!

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