We used to grow lots of tomatoes outdoors on our allotment plot but on the plot these days we can only grow them inside our greenhouse. We had several years when what promised to be a good crop was ruined by blight. It even managed to affect tomatoes growing in the greenhouse one year. We put it down to the fact that previously our allotment site was very under occupied and so blight wasn’t a problem. Now with full site occupancy tomato blight seems to have established a foothold.
We grow tomatoes in our garden greenhouse too.
We buy giant size grow bags in which to grow our tomatoes but we felt that the grow bags didn’t really give an adequate depth of soil and so we bought a set of growing rings which seem to work well.
Three growing rings are pushed into each grow bag and the centre ring is filled with compost from another grow bag. This encourages the plants to develop a better root system. Water and food is given via the outer ring.
Various types of rings are now available including one with holes in which to slot the bamboo canes that are being used to support the plants.
When the first cluster of flowers (known as the first truss) have set tiny tiny fruits it’s time to start feeding your tomato. After that you need to give a weekly feed.
Tomato plants do suffer if they are watered irregularly. This can cause the fruits to rot or split. It can be quite a tightrope act balancing weather conditions, plant size and watering requirements.
The warmer the day and the larger the plant then the more water is needed. Generally if the compost is just moist below the surface then the plant shouldn’t need watering. It can be a problem if you are out for the day and it is cool in the morning and the compost is damp but then the afternoon turns very warm. The plants shouldn’t sit in a tray of water for a long period as this can make the root system under-perform. Roots need air as well as water and waterlogged compost lacks air.
The degree of the problem that people have with watering is reflected by the amount of products that are available to help. If watering is a problem for you, then you may want to investigate some of the products shown below. Also refer to the section on watering and irrigation.
As well as growing tomatoes in our allotment greenhouse we also grow some in our garden greenhouse. We can also manage to grow tomatoes outside in our garden as so far this has escaped the notice of the blight spores. These tomatoes are usually grown in grow bags or pots but it may be that you would like to grow tomatoes on a patio or a paved area in which case grow bags may be considered too unsightly and there is also the problem of creating a support structure which will be required for anything other than bush or tumbling tomatoes.
As you would expect with the popularity of tomato growing there are plenty of products out there to address this issue,. Below are just some of them.
Then if you want to grow tomatoes but haven’t a greenhouse but are worried about losing your plants to blight you could use a small polythene plant house.