WHAT TO DO IN THE GARDEN IN
MAY 11th to 18th
To supply a good source of water, insert a small
pipe about 30cm (foot) into the soil near the plant and pour neat water
down it (to reach the tap root). Together, this will feed the plants top
roots and also get water down to the tap root.
Susan Explains Tomato Plant Rots
Tomato plants have two types of roots. Those small fibrous
ones near the surface of the soil are used to absorb nutrients.
The also have a longer tap root which goes deeper into the soil
and is the main source of water for tomato plants. Knowing this
can help you grow better tomatoes. Apply liquid feed to the
surface of the soil. This will ensure that the fibrous roots can
absorb the nutrients.
Another alternate feeding method, with the idea in mind, can be found by
Lots of vegetables can be grown in grow bags, tomatoes are one of
the most popular. The "soil" in a grow bag is simply a growing medium
which retains moisture and nutrients for the roots. The main problem
with grow bags is that they are sealed at the bottom and therefore water
doesn't drain away easily in wet times and they dry out quickly in dry
To help with these two problems, we always place the grow bags on a
flower bed or grass (it will kill the grass though). We puncture the
base of the grow bag plastic with several smallish holes. This allows
excess water to drain into the soil below preventing the plants from
being water-logged. It also allows some of the roots to grow out of the
base of the grow bag and search out more water in dry times. See the
"Susan Explains" paragraph above for why this is especially useful for
Harden Off Tomatoes, Sweet Corn and Other Frost Tender Plants
In average areas of the UK, next week is time to plant out tomato, sweet
corn and other very frost tender plants. But this week is the time to
harden them off (see April week 2
for an explanation of hardening off). Leave the plants out on warm days,
gradually increasing their time outside but keep them inside if the
temperature threatens to cause a ground frost or worse.
Earth up Potatoes
Earthing up potatoes should be done when the plants are about 20cm / 8in
above the soil surface. Simply gather up the surrounding soil around the
base of the plant so that it cover the lower stem and leaves. About 5 cm
/ 2in of the plant should still be above the drawn up soil.
This has two benefits for potato plants. First, it encourages potatoes
to grow higher up the plant giving you a larger crop of potatoes.
Second, any potatoes which are forming already near the soil surface
will be better covered with soil. This will stop them turning green and
This earthing up process (it should be repeated in three to four weeks
time) is especially important for maincrop potatoes which spend more
time in the ground forming potatoes. If you are growing your potatoes in
containers, "earth up" by simply adding more compost.
For more detailed information and timings go to our individual
fruit pages. If you want to see a
condensed vegetable advice page with planting, sowing, care and
harvesting information for the entire year on one page then go to our
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