When to plant tomatoes
Plant your tomatoes outdoors after the last frost date has passed in May. Choose a sheltered spot that receives full sun. If you have a sheltered space like an unheated greenhouse or polytunnel, plant out your tomato plants in April. Plant your beefsteak varieties undercover so they have plenty of time and warmth to swell and ripen their huge fruits. Cherry varieties are a good choice to plant outdoors where their prolific sweet fruits ripen easily.
How to prune tomato plants
Prune tomato plants as they grow, focusing on removing side shoots from the juncture between leaf and stem. This encourages your tomato to focus its energy on growing tall. Determinate plants stop growth at a certain point making naturally bushier plants, whereas indeterminate tomato varieties will continue growing up until the first frost date after the summer. It can be a good idea to nip off the growing tip of your indeterminate tomato plants when they reach the top of their support to focus their energy on producing and ripening fruits.
Remove the lower leaves of your tomato plants in July when fruit trusses start to form. This allows the sun to get to the fruits and improves airflow which reduces the risk of blight. Take the old leaves away from where your plants are growing and add to the compost heap or bonfire.
When to feed tomato plants
Feed your tomato plants as soon as they start producing flowers. Make sure your plants are growing in rich, fertile soil with additional organic matter to provide plenty of soil nutrients. Use an additional tomato feed to promote growth and then fruiting during the summer. Use a high potassium feed every couple of weeks during fruiting. During growth and alongside feeding, make sure you continue to water your tomato plants regularly.
How often should you water tomato plants?
Water your tomato plants every week. Boost this to a few times a week during hot summer weather. Try and make sure you water in the evening after the worst of the sun’s heat is spent so that the water can slowly percolate into the soil around the roots overnight and evaporation is minimised. Digging a tube into the soil next to the roots and watering into this can help get water deep into the soil.
For even better value, try growing from organic tomato seeds. The extra effort is well worth the rewards.