2013 season -Tomato leaf curl - Early tomato care

Despite a very cold start to the year and losing my first batch of tomatoes to the frost, my second batch of tomato's and other crops are looking very healthy. 

Here are my Cherry tomato plants.

There are plenty of posts on my blog about general rules on  tomato growing, but every season I notice a few things that could cause confusion to novice tomato growers. 

The first is Tomato leaf curl which is not even a problem, but seems to cause more worry to tomato growers than anything else, as I have said before the most hits to my blog are on the posts about tomato leaf curl. It mainly occurs on older leaves and one theory  is that the leaves curl up to have less leaf area for the sun to fall on, thus keeping the plant cooler as it struggles to take up enough water to keep it cool on very hot days. 
I can understand the theory behind this, however I have just been out to the poly-tunnel and it is quite overcast and not too hot.

 As you can see plenty of leaf curl on the lower older leaves which trust me is not a problem, so please do not worry or try to do anything about leaf curl. It is obviously some biological reaction by the plant to certain conditions.


I have always know this as tomato's growing blind, where the plant loses its main stem. This is not a problem on bush tomato plants, as they just push out shoots from everywhere to produce a crop on and do not grow very tall.

I have 6 beefsteak type of cordon tomato's and every one of them went blind. In other words they produced the first truss of tomatoes then the main head disappeared. You do find this happening with the odd plant, so you just save a shoot as the new growing head. But it was rather worrying that it happened to all the plants of one variety, but as you can see I have saved a strong shoot to continue as the main stem and I will remove any other shoots of course.

You can see where I have tied a new string to the shoot I have saved as the main stem. Sometimes you do get a plant splitting into what looks like two main heads and you cant tell the difference between the head and the shoot. In this case you just have to cut one of them off, try for the strongest looking one, but it will not matter which one you cut.  


It is worthwhile having some sort of irrigation system, if you are growing quite a few tomato plants. As I have said many times tomato plants like to be watered little and often, not a big dollop in one go. Over watering can cause fruit to split and also leach out the nutrients in the soil, pot, or peat bag. Drying out of the peat or soil can cause blossom end rot or large black spots on the base of the tomato.

For my soil grown plants I find this seep hose really good, it never blocks up, the soil stays lightly moist all the time and is very simple to connect to a hose pipe and doesn't require high pressure.The down side is that I cannot add a liquid feed to the watering, so I do this will a can once a week and add some slow release granules to the soil surface lightly raked in.  

For pots or grow bags you really need a drip hose system with individual leads or nozzles for each plant. If you cannot use an irrigation system, just remember never to let the soil dry out, or to give too much water in one go. Standing pots in a base of damp gravel is another alternative to making sure the pots never dry out, obviously you have to be more careful if you are standing your pots in just a saucer as the roots do not like to be stood in stagnant water. However, if you are away for a few days this method will keep your plants from totally drying out and would cause little harm in the short term.     


Lastly I am very sorry for the lack of posts as I have been busy with my job selling properties in Brittany. I am also trying to finish the sequel to Vantastic France and our new little puppy Holly is getting a bit of a handful.