Welcome to my blog

I was born in Guernsey (but now live in Brittany) and our main industry was growing tomatoes although that industry has now virtually disappeared. Growing tomatoes to a Guernseyman is like wine to a Frenchman, it's in our blood! I do not profess to be an expert, but I have picked up a few tips and techniques which work for me.

Tomato Help page - Ask any question here

Please ask your questions on this page, I will add quick links to various sections as well.

Just post your question in the comments section for this page, you can also email me photos or paste the question with photo's on your own blog and just add the link in the comment.

If this section gets really busy I will add a proper forum to this site. I am not a total expert, but I have learnt a few things over the year as a commercial and now non commercial tomato grower.

  Here are some basic questions and answers about tomato growing. There are quite a few, but they cover most subjects, obviously I researched many of them.

Why have my young plants turned yellow and purple?    Answer HERE  

How do I prune my cordon tomato plants? HERE is a section on pruning with a great video.

 What are the different types of tomato plants?

Hi, my tomato plants have got all mixed up in the greenhouse and i don't know which are cordon and which are bush now. Is there any way of telling, so that i know which ones to pinch out whilst they are growing?

Hi Anon 
I have actually had this problem myself in the past, so I leave all the shoots on for a while. As bush style plants tend to push out more shoots you can usually tell the difference after a while. You can send me a picture in a few weeks if you are still unsure. I might be able to tell the difference then. Mr TK   


  1. Great idea SteveI'll certainly be a regular visitor!

  2. Hi, my tomato plants have got all mixed up in the greenhouse and i don't know which are cordon and which are bush now. Is there any way of telling, so that i know which ones to pinch out whilst they are growing?

  3. Hi Anon have answered above.

  4. Hello, This is only the second time I'm growing tomatos. Last year I planted small plants in a topsy turvy, but way, way too late, and only got a few tomatoes. This year, I bought "Big Boy" in an about 14-inch pot about 12-14 inches deep. There are four plants and they were already established when I bought them at Costco. They were about 16 inches tall and has a small tomato cage in the pot, so far so good. But when I read about these tomators it says to plant 36" or nore apart. Do I have to do that, or will I still produce tomatos if I keep them in the pot that came in? I really don't have a place to plant....I was going to transfer them to a topsy turvy, or I could repot each plant by itself. What do you think? Thanks. PV

    1. Hi Anon
      Big Boy is a indeterminate variety, so it really needs space and all the shoots removed, so are better spaced out. You can plant them 12" apart if you have little space. I plant mine 18" to 20" but I have a lot in the poly-tunnel. it all depends on how much crop you want, more space means more fruit and let chance of disease.
      You also have to stake them up, let them grow to about 5 ft then remove the head.

      I tried a Topsy Turvy, but the head of the plant kept curling up trying to find the light. You really need a bush type of plant for Topsy Turvy for best results.

      Also bush style plants are far better if you have lack of space and you can keep a few in a large pot. The spread out rather than grow high and just leave all the shoots on. You do get less crop and they mainly ripen together, within a few weeks.

  5. Hvaing problems with my tomatoes setting fruit. I am in Houston where it has been hot lately, I get blossoms but they fall off after 3 or 4 days. My plants are about 4 feet tall and I have 2 tomatoes growing on a total of 4 plants. I am growing Gulf States. I am getting good plant growth but not enough tomatoes growing.

    I have backed off the watering to once a week and deeply and the fertilizing to every 2 weeks. Thanks for any suggestions.

  6. If it has been really hot, they could need more water not less, any chance of a photo to stevehbichard@cwgsy.net

  7. My Italian tomato plants are young and the top leaves are curling downward and also seem to be yellowing a bit. Sorry, don't know how to send you an image. I water the plant once in the morning. Temp here is max 30, min 16 degree centigrade. Please advise..Thanks,
    Kolkata, India

  8. Hi Navendu
    This is difficult without a photo, but going by what you have said it could be just lack of water in those temps, depending on if your plants are in the soil or pots and how big the posts are. Also how tall your plants are. You can email an image or find a similar plant picture on the net and send a link to stevehbichard@cwgsy.net

  9. I have tried the tomato variety Ferline this year for the first time - meant to have increased blight resistance. 2 queries: they seem to have a tendency to divide into 2 main leaders, and I'm reluctant to cut out one of them for fear of introducing a large cut for disease to enter more easily; they are also very short stemmed between the leaves - is this normal? Also, large amount of leaf curl, although from your blog I guess this is overwatering on my part, so I'll just ease off on that a little, although continue to mist the flowers? I water via upturned plastic bottles next to each plant and then 10" mini irrigation morning and night...?

  10. Hi Carol
    From what I can tell Ferline is a cordon tomato, so you do need to remove the side shoots. If it has divided into two, just cut the weaker one out.
    Usually short stemmed between the leaves are bush style plants, I
    will try and google and image to check they are cordon plants.
    You should not get disease through cutting the large shoot if it is too humid.

    Yes do not worry about leaf curl, I get it if I over or under water.
    A little and often is the golden rule for watering, you seem to be on the right track.

  11. Hi Steve,

    I have one tomato, a Katana, that has leaf curl, which is from over watering - I'm a novice still learning here lol, but the leaf buds that are on it wont open. I have no idea what to do. The only full leaf on it had leaf miners so I cut it off. Should I just wait and see? I'm in Florida and it is the rainy season. lol

    1. Hi Shanell
      As you have probably seen in my section about leaf curl it is nor always easy to work out what causes it, but it is not normally a problem on older plants. It would be a lot easier for me if you could email a few pictures of the plant, as sometimes it is not just watering that causes leaf curl. Just leave the plant be for now as they usually sort themselves out. Make sure the plants are not over-watered in the rainy season ,but never let the compost dry out.

  12. Thanks for sharing this great post

  13. I planted 2 tomato plants in a pot but I think there is only room for one....Im new at this. Should I cut one out making more room for the other or just leave it?

  14. Hi Julie

    One plant is enough in a pot, which should be a t leat 18" apart. This is because there is more room for the roots and a reserve ow water on hot days. Also less chance off disease and the fruit will produce better with more space.

  15. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for sharing so much detailed info, I want to start growing tomatoes and
    I came across an article that says that it is better if one can to start the nursery in cups than growing trays, because it encourages large root growth early on which usually leads to the vigorous growth of the plant.
    Do you agree with this, or is it just one of those personal preference things in gardening.

    1. Sorry for very late delay replying, If you are careful when pricking out small seedlings it is not a problem. Lightand temperature are the best things for vigorious growth,more important than anything else

  16. The leafs on one of my toms are drooping as though it needs watering but they well watered what could b the problem

  17. Hi Unknown

    it is very hard to tell without a photo of the whole plant.


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