How to care for a tomato plant – The FOUR tips you need to know

Alan Titchmarsh offers tips on watering tomato plants

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Tomatoes are readily available to purchase in supermarkets, but it can be much cheaper to grow your own. Not to mention, growing your own tomatoes can also produce super tasty results. Here are some simple tips for looking after a tomato plant.

Water tomato plants regularly

Tomato plants should be watered regularly and deeply when tomato fruits are developing.

Irregular watering of tomato plants can cause blossom end rot, a type of calcium deficiency, causing the tomato plant to crack and split.

Aim for at least one inch of water per week, but in warmer weather tomato plants may need more water than this.

Try and keep the soil evenly moist at all times rather than sporadically.

Feed tomato plants weekly

Tomatoes grow best in rich and fertile soil and in a sunny spot in the garden, where the plant can get some shelter from the elements.

Additionally, tomato plants also need to be fed every week.

A diluted liquid tomato feed can help with this, just follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Pinch out cordon tomatoes

Cordon tomatoes grow tall and it is important to support the plant as it grows with soft gardening twine.

Excess shoots and stalks will also need to be removed as the plant grows.

When a tomato plant starts to produce fruit, it will also benefit from having leaves near the fruit removed to let more sunlight in.

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If excess leaves and suckers aren’t removed, they will just divert energy away from the rest of the plant and the developing fruit.

The Gardeners’ World website explains: “Tall-growing cordon tomatoes will require pinching out (removing side-shoots) and staking (tying plants to canes with soft string).

“When the first tiny fruits begin to appear, strip away the leaves underneath to allow light and air to reach them better.

“When there are four trusses (clusters) of flowers, pinch out the plant’s growing tip.”

Plant basil and tomato together

Basil and tomato are known to be a winning flavour profile, but they also work well together in the garden.

Many gardeners recommend planting tomato and basil as it has been suggested growing basil next to tomatoes can improve the flavour of the fruit.

There are also some who say basil can help to repel pests which may otherwise prey on tomatoes.

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