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How to Feed, Water and Support Tomatoes 

How to Feed, Water and Support Tomatoes

Tomato Transplanting
Where tomato seedlings have been started in pots, they should be transplanted into their final positions when they are at least 15cm (6in) high.

Where tomato plants have been grown under cover, remember to harden them off for a week or two before planting them in their final outside positions.

This is especially important in the UK because May and June can often be cool and windy. For more details on how to harden off plants, click here.

For each plant, dig a hole (45cm / 18in apart) in the bed to about 5cm / 2in deeper than the pot and water if conditions are at all dry. Ease the tomato plant out of the pot, keeping the root ball undisturbed as far as possible. Place it in the hole and fill around the plant with soil. The soil should be a 5cm / 2in higher than it was in the pot. Planting tomato plants deeper in the soil than in the pot will encourage the formation of additional roots.

Loosely tie the plant's stem to the support stake using soft garden twine - allow some slack for future growth.

How to Support Tomatoes

Just before transplanting the tomato plants to their final position drive a strong stake into the ground 5cm (2in) from the planting position. The stake should be at least 30cm (1ft) deep in the ground and 1.2m (4ft) above ground level - the further into the ground the better the support.

Growing Tomatoes in Grow Bags or Containers

The culture of container grown tomatoes is not very different from other methods. The soil used for containers is best half potting  compost and half a soil-based type loam - this gives some weight to the soil which helps the stakes to remain in place and stop winds blowing over the container.

The plants will need more frequent watering to keep the soil moist, and will require feeding with a liquid tomato fertiliser once a week starting when the first fruits start to form.

Care of Tomato Plants

Weeding, feeding, watering and support are the main needs of tomato plants. Each one of these is dealt with separately below.

A constant supply of moisture is essential for tomatoes - dry periods significantly increase the risk of the fruit splitting. Tomatoes don't like being water-logged, but neither can they stand dry conditions.

Feeding and Weeding
Tomato variety Green Zebra
Growing outside in the UK, tomato plants should be fed with a liquid tomato fertiliser every two or three weeks up to the end of August. These tomato fertilisers are high in potash which the plants needs to fruit well. In September, feed with a general fertiliser (higher in nitrogen) in order to help the plant support its foliage. Weed around the plants to discourage pests and diseases. A mulch of well-rotted compost will help retain moisture and prevent weeds.

Green Zebra - super taste and unusual appearance

Tomatoes have two separate areas of the roots. The top area is specialised to take up nutrients in the water they absorb. The lower parts of the roots absorb water but are less able to absorb nutrients. You can make use of these specialised roots to grow healthier and more prolific tomatoes with a simple technique. Click here to find out more.

As the plant grows, tie in the main stem to the support stake. Check previous ties to ensure that they do not cut into the stem as the plant grows.

Tomato Home Page


Name: helen
Date posted: June 11, 2011 - 10:08 am
Message: hi are growing brandy wine varriety but know or heard nothing of these seem to be doing fine any info plesae

Name: Eleanore
E-mail: Private
Date posted: May 17, 2011 - 12:48 pm
Message: Are patio tomatoes small like the cherry or grape.The stems are real stocking so I'm thinking they are little salad tomatoes,am I right?

Name: Howard Bell
Date posted: May 11, 2011 - 04:20 am
Message: Hi I have just built a greenhouse and I am growing some Tomatoes, they have lots of flowers on them. Do I need to polonate the flowers to get the fruit, i.e. with a feather or something similar?

Name: erol kus
Date posted: December 13, 2010 - 08:22 pm
Message: i had a blight problem last the same area ifI growe in polytunnel will I have same problem,many thanks

Name: Ken Lord
Date posted: August 29, 2010 - 03:57 pm
Message: I have three tomato plants in a gro bag growing in a wall plastic greenhouse. They have fruited well and now starting to ripen. I have been feeding with Tomorite since the first fruit appeared. My question is WHEN DO I STOP FEEDING THEM? Tips please!

Name: kspaven
Date posted: August 27, 2010 - 04:50 pm
Message: my tomatoes in the greenhouse will not ripen. plenty of fruit but despite watering,feeding and careful attention they will not go red.any tips or help appreciatted