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Latest posts by Italophile

Watering tomatoes

Posted: 01/06/2013 at 07:44
Ben 3 wrote (see)

Remeber that toms grow in hot and dry countries, i tend to soak them say every other day but feed on a regular basis.  Just watch for side shoots.

Toms had their origins in the warmth of mesoamerica growing wild. They were eventually domesticated but would never have been pampered. To this day they remain immensely tough, resilient plants just as they were eons ago. Amazingly so. They thrive on controlled neglect. It's worth a wee experiment to see what effect less water and fertiliser has.

Tomato Plant

Posted: 01/06/2013 at 07:33

Or give them a gentle flick with your fingers or a brush with the palm of your hand. Any sort of contact will give the flower's internal mechanics a wee jolt and help the pollination along.

Watering tomatoes

Posted: 31/05/2013 at 09:21
Nick Winn wrote (see)

Hi Italophile and Verdun,

Are you saying they should be given a really good soak not very often? How will I know when the roots have dried out?

thank you for your advice 

Nick, are you growing in containers or in the ground? In the ground, a good deep soaking infrequently is better than frequent light waterings. The deep soakings encourage the roots deeper into the soil. Mine are outdoors and I only water more than once a week - very deeply - when the temps get into the high-30sC consistently.

In containers, you're more at the mercy of the size of the container and what the container's made of. Smaller ones will dry out quicker than bigger ones in warm weather and terra cotta dries out quicker than plastic because terra cotta "breathes".

One test for moisture is to stick a finger down into the mix as deeply as you can. With the temps the UK seems to be getting at the moment, I'd bet it would take a while for the roots to dry out completely.

Watering tomatoes

Posted: 31/05/2013 at 08:22

The best advice in that link is to allow the mix to dry. Tom roots should never be permanently damp. There are very few plants that like their roots permanently damp and toms certainly aren't one of them. Tomatoes respond best to controlled neglect in terms of both watering and fertilising. Less is better.

Tomato Plant

Posted: 31/05/2013 at 08:15

As steephill says, Alicante would normally grow to at least 6'. It's an indeterminate (cordon) variety. Indeterminates aren't really suited to growing indoors on a window sill. Indeterminates continue to grow and produce fruit on the new growth during the season. Remove all the growing tips, the plant will stop growing and there will be no more fruit.

Lu, can you give us some more information? Varieties? How big/old/mature they are? Current temperatures? A photo would be a help too.


Posted: 30/05/2013 at 17:12

The common ones manifest as spots on the leaves that gradually enlarge. I've got a link on my HD somewhere to a good explanation with photos. I'll find it and post it.


Posted: 30/05/2013 at 16:37

windowgardener, covering them like that is all right on a short-term basis in case of, say, sudden cold snaps. It's not healthy in the longer term for the reason that bothers you. Trapped humid air is the enemy.


Posted: 30/05/2013 at 16:35

BB, not in the slightest. It was a fair point. Not everyone grows in an ideal world. I'm lucky that I've been able to for a long time, first in Oz, now in Italy. The drawback in Sydney was the stinking humidity, fungal heaven; here in Italy it's the uninterrupted fortnights of 40C+. It can fry the flowers on the plants. But I count my tomato blessings.

Spacing is only one of the anti-fungal measures, that's all. Part of the package.

Scrubbing out is always a good idea for a lot of reasons. I think it's your ventilation, though, and the breeze in particular, that helps you. But be vigilant, ever vigilant. As I'm sure you are.


Posted: 30/05/2013 at 07:15

BB, sounds like you've got great ventilation - including that breeze - so that gives you a huge head start.

Yes, around 3' between plantings is the acknowledged preferred minimum. And, yes, it's in an ideal world. Obviously not everyone can achieve it. As I said to windowgardener further up the page, you are ultimately dictated to by your circumstances.

Unless you spray against fungal diseases, air circulation is your best means of minimising the chances of fungal diseases. Plant spacing is only one of the numerous bits of housekeeping you can practise.

Others include keeping the foliage as dry as possible, nipping off excess branches and foliage to avoid impenetrable clumps forming and hindering air circulation, and maintaining a gap between the lowest foliage and the soil. Fungal spores can and will fall from the foliage to the soil and be splashed back up again during watering. The gap helps against this.

Ultimately, the closer you plant the toms together, the more care you need to take.




Posted: 29/05/2013 at 17:46

You wouldn't want a pot shallower than 30cm with a proper stake in it. There's not enough soil to support it.

With toms in general it's a good idea to have as much space between the plants as possible. It aids air circulation which is a help against fungal diseases. Fungal spores love lots of foliage crammed up together. Keeping the air moving keeps the spores moving. As a rule of thumb, 3 feet is about the minimum distance you'd want between plants. More if possible.

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