Saturday 13 August 2016

Continuing care for the Tomatoes

Having lost one of my big tomato plants to blight last week, I'm being even more assiduous in my care for the remainder now! I have largely managed to hold back the blight by snipping off any infected foliage as soon as I spot it, but it really is a race against time. Fortunately some of the fruit is ripening now. This is "Stupice", from which I picked the first ripe fruit a couple of days ago.


It looks as if "Tigerella" will be next. When ripe its fruits are usually an orangey-red colour with green stripes.


You can see in both of the preceding photos how I have removed most of the leaves from the lower parts of the plants. Not only does this lessen the opportunities for blight (which is wind-borne) to settle, but also it lets more direct sunlight reach the fruits, helping them to ripen quicker. My tomato plants only get direct sunlight for about 5 hours a day, so they need all the help they can get.

Here's my "Grushkova" plant after de-leafing:


The fruits on "Primabella" have turned too, and it won't be many days before I can pick some. I have mixed feelings about this variety (which I grew last year as well): it has strong blight-resistant qualities, which is good, but the ones I have grown (admittedly only 2!) have not been prolific croppers. This year's plant was about 4 feet tall before it produced any fruit-trusses. More have appeared higher up, but for reasons of access and stability I have had to limit it to about 6' 6" tall, which means that it only has four trusses when most of my plants have 5 or 6.


With the weather continuing dry and windy, with occasional sunny days, the tomato plants have been dehydrating rapidly, so I have been very careful to keep their water topped-up every day. I have also continued to feed them at least once a week with "Tomorite". Watering and feeding is important because the fruit is coming to maturity now, and lack of either will prejudice size and flavour.

Now I want to show you another ploy I have resorted to in order to help my bush tomatoes. The plants have become very straggly and they have completely collapsed under the weight of a good crop of fruit.


If the fruit sits on the surface of the shingle the air doesn't circulate round it and it gets damp and is easily accessible to slugs, so I have propped up the plants' branches on some upturned black plastic crates.

2 x "Maskotka", 1 x "Montello"


You can't see them in my photos, but behind each of the crates is a little saucer of slug-pellets. Hopefully the slugs will go for those first, before attempting to climb up the crates!

Those Maskotka and Montello tomatoes are ripening slowly but steadily, which is a good thing, because it means we don't have a shortage and we don't have a glut. The little ones like these almost all get eaten as salad tomatoes and hardly any are cooked. Later, when the bigger varieties ripen, the situation will be reversed. It won't be long now.


  1. Hello Mark. You do an amazing job growing tomatoes in pots and I'm guessing their heirloom ( names I'm not familiar with). We have blight (nothing new) so husband the tomato grower in the family manages the same way you do. We take many of the tomatoes off the vine as soon as they blush, no difference in taste when ripen in house. btw We only get 6 hours sunlight. Yes to use common names unless the plant/shrub/flowers are uncommon. ps there is a link to husbands Heirloom tomato blog at the bottom of my page. Have a great day.

  2. What an amazing crop you have. I have not been reading your blog long enough to know what you do with all your veggies but I am guessing you eat well all winter. Haveyou ever used sand for slugs? I put a ring around plants and they won't cross it. Can't have anything b laying on the ground

  3. We picked our first ripe tomatoes to day!

  4. I'm glad that your tomatoes are ripening in advance of being infected with blight. And the plants in the last couple of photos are certainly impressive...just loaded with fruit!

  5. My plants haven't succumbed to blight yet, and the forecast is set fair for the next couple of weeks, so they should be fine. I find it hard to keep on top of the watering, though. I do remember to feed them, but I use homemade comfrey feed rather than Tomorite :) Best of luck with your harvest!


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