N-P-K 4 - 5 - 8 + S, Ca & Mg
If you only grow one crop this year make it tomatoes, they can be used in so many meals and will produce loads of juicy fruit. The health benefits of fresh produce are endless, the flavour can’t be beaten and the satisfaction of successfully growing your own is immense. Although tomatoes are technically a fruit, they are used in many savoury dishes so commonly thought of as a vegetable.
Once the cold weather has passed, and the soils have warmed up its time to plant out tomato plants. Labour weekend is known as the traditional tomato planting time but tomato seedlings are usually available in garden centres from August.
Varieties available include small red and yellow cherry/cocktail types, acid free Roma and vine tomatoes, and trusty tried and true traditional types such as Beefsteak, Taupo and Money Maker.
- Choose a sunny situation for your tomato crops that is sheltered from strong winds.
- Tomatoes need little space to grow and are suitable to grow in the garden, containers, grow bags or patio planters.
- Prepare the soil in the garden by digging it over, and then blend in compost and Tui Tomato Mix to the area.
- Tui Tomato Mix is specially formulated for growing tomatoes and contains all the nutrients they need. Added potash enhances fruit and flower production (rather than leafy growth).
- Water well to ensure the soil is moist and ready for planting.
- If planting in rows, plant 60cm – 80cm apart and stake as you plant them. Wind can easily damage young plants; therefore the stake provides support to young plants and to the fruit as it forms through the season.
- The container needs to be at least 30 litres in size for each tomato plant - that’s 3 times to size of an average kitchen bucket.
- Simply fill with Tui Tomato Mix and start planting.
- Tomatoes are susceptible to various diseases, the most common being blossom end rot. This can be caused by various factors including low levels of calcium.
- The best way to prevent blossom end rot is consistency of care, especially being careful to ensure soil doesn't dry out.
- Tomatoes enjoy a lot of fertiliser, be careful not to overload them with fertilisers high in nitrogen.
- Apply Tui Tomato Food, which is high in Potash (a form of Potassium). Potassium is essential for enhancing fruit and flower production and enhances the juiciness of the fruit.
- Water plant food in well after application.
- For container crops, a soluble fertiliser such as Tui Eco-Fert is perfect and is quick and easy to use.
- Water tomatoes regularly, preferably in the morning, 2 or 3 times a week, but never in the middle of the day.
- Apply Saturaid to soil surrounding plants; this will draw water to the roots where it is needed most.
- Remove laterals, these are the side branches that appear above the leaves on the main trunk of the plant. Laterals suck a lot of goodness from the plant and limit fruit production.