The great benefit of nursery raised plants, is that there should be no problems with early setting of the fruit. The plants look very balanced now in their final place, and some nice spring sun has given them a real growth spurt. I have also just started feeding them and strung them up, so all we do now is nip out the young side shoots and wait for our first tasting.
Sorry for the blurry photo.
This year I have carefully labelled my plants, unlike last year! But one way to tell if you have a bush plant, which you do not have to remove the side shoots from, is to take a good look at the head of the plant. Here you can clearly see that the head has grown into a truss of tomatoes, and that the others will now form on the lower side shoots. This will occasionally happen on a standard plant, which is called 'going blind'. If this happens just let strongest shoot to take over.
Bush tomatoes or determinate as they should be called, will produce their fruit to be picked at the same time, just leave them to go wild, but I do always remove the first few shoots to help the plant get established.
Cordon or indeterminate plants are for a longer growing season, removing all side shoots, just leaving the trusses on the main stem. They can grow to over 20 ft if trained and supported, normally in a greenhouse. If grown outside you can train them up a pole and stop the head at about six foot, this will encourage the fruit to mature quicker before the onslaught of early autumn weather and the risk of blight.
Mrs TK is always trying to find me an unusual gift and last year I received a Topsy Turvy Planter, so how could I not put a plant in it. The idea is that the plant hangs down, so is ideal for limited floor space. To me the most important fact in growing tomatoes is good light, so the fact that it is upside-down goes against the grain.
As you can see the plant is bending towards the light, and I only planted it yesterday. But it will be fun to try it. I should have used a bush tomato, which I think would be a better option, but I had planted all of mine already. So I will nip the head out after the plant is a few feet long and leave a few side shoots to produce fruit on.
We have our first red strawberry. The plant has overwintered well and we took a lot of suckers to plant in the garden, so it looks like we will be having plenty of fresh strawberries and cream this summer, if Bramble is not tempted to eat them all first. it is her favourite summer garden treat.
The skys have finally opened and we had a nice shower of rain overnight. It has been a beautiful April, the lack of rain slightly affected some crops outside, but all should be well now. Our sweet corn is just about ready to be planted out, so I took the time in between today's showers to prepare a bed, where we had the old chicken run.