My difficult quest to find a high potash tomato feed in France resulted in me having a look for some 'Tomorite' while I was last in Guernsey, as time was limited I nipped down to the local village hardware store, Valpy's in St Martins.
Valpy's is an Aladdin's cave, a little like Arkright's store in 'Open all hours' from the two Ronnies, from fork handles to a washing machine, there is not much they do not stock. Unfortunately, they didn't have any Tomorite but they did have something even better, a box of potash which I can add to my normal feed, or just feed with it alone once in a while.
The reason I needed potash was that it is for fruit production and not foliar growth, which is what high nitrogen feeds are for. You can sprinkle it on the soil and lightly fork it in, but this can cause damage to the root just below the surface, so I prefer to mix it with water and give my plants a liquid feed.
My tomato plants are going great guns with this latest spell of hot weather and the fruit is now starting to swell, so it should not be too long before I will be getting my first harvest of tasty toms.
Tomatoes growing blind!
Very occasionally tomato plants will grow blind, this is a term used by commercial tomato growers. Basically, the growing head disappears and in this photo you can see it has split with a truss on one side and a shoot on the other.
This is no great hardship as all you have to do is not nip out the shoot and let it grow as the continuing main stem of the plant. This would be the only time that you would not remove a shoot from a cordon style tomato plant.
Removing side shoots
Normally you remove all side shoots as pictured here. It is only the bush type of tomato plants that you leave the shoots on to bear fruit as they are a compact plant.
With cordon types you get the best crop from the trusses only on the stem. You will of course get trusses on side shoots, but these will not grow as big and your plants will soon get out of control and produce too much foliage, with a lot less crop.
To give you a better idea of what I am trying to get across, this is a pictures sent to me from a follower who did not remove any shoots or suckers. I ended up showing him what to remove as his plants were growing out of control and he was uncertain of what to remove. As you can see compared to three pictures above of my own crop, his has plenty of foliage, but very few swelling tomatoes.
He did inform me a month or so later that his plants were back to normal after he removed the side shoots and suckers and he went on to have a great crop from his plants, so it is never too late to rescue your crop if you have left all the side shoots on.
One of my strawberry patches was left to grow a little wild, I did not thin them out and replant the suckers. However as you can see there are plenty of lovely tasty strawberries hiding in there.
Strawberries are Bramble's favourite summer treat and unfortunately she usually helps herself to them, so I thought it best to teach her to wait until she is served!