Alan Titchmarsh offers tips on watering tomato plants
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Tomatoes are an easy plant to grow, flourishing in most gardens or greenhouses. As long as you have a sunny, sheltered spot or greenhouse you will have your own fresh tomatoes in no time.
You can choose a range of types to grow – from cherry tomatoes to larger beefsteak ones.
April is an ideal month to sow tomato seeds, first indoors before planting outside in May or June.
Each variant will have its own soil, environment and watering preferences – and you can check these on the seed packet.
You can also buy young plants from garden centres if you want to skip the sowing phase and get closer to harvesting.
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When to water tomatoes – the best time of the day
Tomato plants can be delicate when it comes to watering, with overwatering causing several issues.
If you overwater your tomato plants you may find they have:
- Less fruit
- Stunted growth
To keep your plant in top condition, water the soil – not directly over the plants leaves or fruit.
If you need to water over the plant itself make sure to do so on a dull day as the leaves can burn in sunlight if drops of water linger.
Bloomling advises you water the plants slowly, and make sure the water absorbs into the soil before you add more.
The earth should be moist down to 15 to 20 centimetres, which helps the roots grow.
Always pour around the stem, a few centimetres apart, not on the stem itself as this helps the roots spread out.
When it comes to how often to water your tomatoes, this depends on the environment your plants are in.
Watering can vary from several times a day to a couple of times a week.
Overwatering can cause a host of problems, and prevent the roots from breathing – so be careful not to water too frequently.
Your plants will tend to show you when they need water.
Bloomling says: “If the leaves hang limply in the evening, the plant needs water.
“If the leaves are limp during the day, there is no need to worry, that is a protective mechanism to reduce evaporation.
“Just keep an eye on the plant after sundown.”
If you think your plant looks thirsty, try and water it in the morning as watering at night can cause disease.
When it comes to harvesting your tomatoes, again your intuition is best.
Only pluck tomatoes which are ripe and fully coloured.
If the season ends (around September) and there are still some unripe tomatoes, there are a couple of things you can do.
You can pluck and place in a drawer with a banana to ripen, or you can lift outdoor plants with unripe fruit and either lay them on straw under cloches.
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