Pippa Greenwood: Haxnicks Tomato Growing tips for May
So here are my veg and tomato growing tips for May plus what to look out for in the greenhouse & garden
If you’ve got a greenhouse then your tomato plants will be romping away by now. But for those without, as we move into May we should be past the last frost date. So it should be safe (now I’m saying should!) to start planting out more tender crops, including tomatoes. Whether they are cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes or even heirloom tomatoes - get them in now so they can start to establish.
How and where to plant tomatoes
You may decide to plant these direct into open ground, ideally in a really sunny and sheltered spot for best results. But if you prefer want to grow a tomato plant in a pot or container then this can be done now. Choose a good quality compost and a container at least 30x 30x 30cm for each tomato plant if you want to make life easier. For even better results choose a Vigoroot Tomato Planter for healthier plants and up to a 30% higher yield.
If you aren't quite sure how to support tomato plants then the Tomato Crop Booster Frame will provide you with space for four pots of tomatoes, and the sturdy frame and clever support system will also make it easy for you to adapt the support as the plants grow. Certainly a really popular product but even better if you combine it with the poly-cover which will provide great protection from cool nights early and late in the season.
As you might just have realised I’m a serious fan of growing your own vegetables, we dispatch the plants 19th May from www.pippagreenwood.com and do still have some left!! It is fun, productive, and generally good for mind and body. But that said, I’d not be being honest if I said veg-growing was always trouble free, and when I say trouble free I really mean pest and disease free! If, like me, you don’t want to use chemical controls, or if you simply want to reduce the number you use, then nematodes can offer a brilliant solution. There are well known nematode controls for pests like slugs, vine weevils, chafer grubs, leatherjackets and ants, but you can also get a really useful mix of nematodes produced specifically to control a wide range of common pests on fruit and veg crops including carrot fly, cabbage root fly, cutworms, onion fly, sciarids (fungus gnats), caterpillars, gooseberry sawfly, thrips and codling moth.
Caring for your young plants
It’s been a really weird year so far weatherwise, with some horrendous, hard frosts and bitter winds for much of April. So, for most of us, there’s still a definite need to be a little more cautious than usual AND its worth bearing in mind that many plants will be likely to benefit from a bit of extra care and attention to help them repair damage and make up for ‘lost’ time.
Check plants regularly and, now that we’re in May, remove frosted leaves or flowers before they become infected with grey mould (Botrytis) or similar usually fairly weak pathogens. These are easily dealt with but can cause a lot of problems if allowed to infest damaged areas. Use secateurs, scissors or your fingers to carefully prune. Cut or pinch out anything suspect and, if the plants are under cover of a cloche, coldframe, greenhouse or conservatory, try to get the air circulating as much as possible too.
I hope you enjoy these veg & tomato growing tips and get lots of lovely things to eat.
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