Tomato growing help section

I have added a new page at the top of my blog.

Tomato Help page - Ask any question about tomatoes here

Just add your questions in the comments section at the bottom of the help page and I will then add it to the page at the top. You can also email me photos or post them on your blog and give me the link.

If this page gets really busy I will add a proper forum to the site, but there are plenty of forums on the net and if they are not busy enough then they can be taken down by the forum supplier. 

 As I have stated I am no expert but I have learnt a few tricks and tips over the years as a commercial tomato grower in Guernsey, UK, Holland,  Portugal, and now just for fun in France. 

Ask a question on any forum about any subject and you will get many different answers. It is not always simple when trying to find the source of the problem as many factors have to be taken into account. What might be blatantly obvious could have be caused by previous actions and conditions.

Some cheap composts for example have residues of weed-killer that comes from the manure of animals feeding on grass that had a spray drift from weed-killer used in the next field. This has caused a few problems with seed germination and young plants. 

Plants turning purple through lack of phosphates could have a poor root system or a lack of other nutrients that stops the uptake of phosphates.

Blackspot  (Blossom-end rot (BER)  on plants is sometimes caused by a calcium but 99% of the time it is caused by under-watering in the past, so there is no need to add extra calcium as it is in most tomato feeds in small doses.
By watering enough in the future the problem will cure itself. 

We can sometimes over analyse problems and most of us are just amateur gardeners, so if we lose the odd plant it is no big deal. The trick is to not take it too seriously and 'enjoy your gardening', as they say on a certain TV gardening programme




  1. Hi,

    I have just lost 4 tomato plants after potting them up into fresh MPC. I admit they were a bit overdue for potting on as I had not bought fresh compost in time. They were in 3" pots and starting to look a little under nourished. However, I thought they would recover after repotting. I repotted some other plants at the same time that were in larger pots and these look OK, so I don't think it was the compost. Or was it? The compost smelt strongly of added fertiliser, could this have been too strong for the ailing plants?

    I've posted pictures on my blog if you want to see the problem. TIA.

  2. Hi Mark
    great idea to post the pictures it really helps. I think it cannot be too much fertiliser or they would have gone very dark and the other were OK in the same compost.
    The are very yellow which means they were not getting any nutrients, so it looks like the roots are damaged. Either the compost was too wet and it was quite cold, did you re-pot them with all the roots intact from the previous pot, they really do not like being disturbed too much.

    The roots could have been burnt if the compost was too strong in the mix, but like you said the other plants were OK.

    It is best when re-potting to give the plant a drink then remove the plant and compost form the old pot as one. The compost that it is planted into should be slightly drier to encourage root growth.

    Like most problems with small plants I do feel that is simply a case of too much water drowning the roots with no air.

    I hope this helps, but there is not much you can do about the plants now.

  3. Thanks for the quick reply, Steve.

    I did pot the plants with all the roots intact. The compost was quite dry when I repotted them but I did give them a good watering afterwards. But as you say I suspect the roots got damaged. I shall try and be more vigilant about potting on in the future.

    1. I think with the weather not too hot you can go easy on the watering after re-potting, but it has been a funny year. I find I have to be really careful with the cucumbers as they are even worse for root problems.

      Had the weather been warmer you might not have had the problem, all part of the fun of growing.


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