Tips: Maintaining Tomato Growth And Support
A few tried and tested tips on maintaining tomato plants to get a good crop in the late summer and autumn. Six years ago was the first t...
Six years ago was the first time I grew my own tomatoes. I've always "joined in" the family and community work when it comes to gardening but it's entirely different when you're in charge.
No instructions, no how-to or advice from my eco-mum. Just me, a handful of seeds and the great outdoors. Alhamdulillah, following the season and instincts I managed to yield around 20 tomatoes, each about the size of a golf ball.
Last year was one of better years for growing vegetables and this time I took the know-how of eco-mum. She told me to prepare the plant the seeds in early to mid Spring, therefore in April I was outside checking on the growth of my tomatoes and keeping them green.
In 2011 I got over 100 tomatoes throughout July-September. Greener tomatoes were perfect for sauces while the riper red tomatoes made beautiful salads and roasted gems.
This year the weather in England has been dodgy but subhan-Allah all weather has its good. A lot of rain, splashy sun and humid conditions made it poor for outdoor vegetation. Inside the greenhouse and conservatory though, I managed to grow chillies, a few tomatoes, lots of herbs, peppers and leafy greens. The cooking essentials at least!
Top Tips For Growing Tomatoes
If kept under warm conditions with plenty of light, room to grow and without over-watering, a tray of 30 sprinkled tomato seeds will give you 20+ healthy plants. How many tomatoes your plants produce all depends on God but a rough guess-timate is to expect 3-5 for each plant.
From beginning to end I had to wait just under 4 months to bite into the first tomato. Well worth it!
- Once the tomato plant flowers, ready to produce the 'fruit', be on the lookout for the extra offshoots budding in-between the main branches. These aren't strong enough to grow more tomatoes and so only suck up the energy. Simply pinch these shoots off, being careful not to damage others. (Pictured above)
- When the tomato plants get to over 2 feet tall they will need supporting. My plants reached a lofty 5-6 feet and were mostly sturdy due to stiff stalks. You can buy all sorts of plastic ties and wire to tie the stems to bamboo but I like to use hemp string. It doesn't cut into the stalks and is easier to loosen.
- Get yourself the appropriate lengths of bamboo sticks or old fencing beams (lightweight) with an extra 6 inches at the top. This is so the top most leaves can lean as they grow. Push one down into the pot, as close as possible to the centre of the tomato plant, avoiding the main root structure.
- Cut 3-4 inch lengths of hemp twine. Wrap one around just under the main shoots and the bamboo stick. Tie with a single loop knot.
Here's to plenty more fruitful adventures insha-allah.
More Eco-Muslim Action In The Outdoors
+ 10 Things Every Eco-Mosque Should Have
+ 'All The Earth Is A Place Of Worship For You'
+ How We Grow Chillies In England
+ Eco Muslim Photo Diary: Growing Veggies (2011)