PREPARATION Prepare your tomato bed in September, at the same time you sow your tomato seeds. This gives time for the bed to settle in before the plants go in.
- Cut the greencrop down (hopefully you've grown one) and dig into the soil with rockdust, seaweed and homemade compost (not fresh manure)
- In clay soil, double dig or deeply fork the bed
- Mulch the area well to protect it until planting time. Don't be in a hurry - wait for the weather to settle down and the soil to warm up
- Prepare liquid feed (seaweed or comfrey)
PLANTING Water seedlings well or soak in liquid seaweed before planting.
For upright tomatoes: Bang in a sturdy 2m stake for each plant, at least 50cm apart. Plant directly in front of the stake and tie on using a soft stocking tie.
For cherry tomatoes: Allow 1m square or make a 60cm diameter wire cage.
Water well and mulch generously with seaweed, straw or lupin.
TOMATO CARE More or less weekly, on a sunny, breezy day:
Tie in tomatoes to the stake, being careful not to bruise the stem.
Delateral by pinching out the side shoots that grow beside each leaf. Do this little and often and this will leave only a tiny wound. Make sure your fingers are clean!
Pinch out the tops when plants reach the top of the stake or have 5 trusses of fruit/flowers, allowing one or two main stems only.
Water as required to keep the soil moist. A clay pot works well. If you have humus rich, nutrient dense soil and a good layer of mulch your soil will hang onto water for a long time. Too much water decreases the flavour, too little splits the skins.
Liquid feed regularly - weekly or fortnightly - and foliar feed with seaweed if blights start to appear. Remove bottom leaves as they start to yellow and remove any diseased leaves.
Check regularly for signs of pests and disease.