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Terry's Tomato Tips: Spring

Spring is in the air and for greenhouse growers’ thoughts turn towards planting tomatoes. Tomato plants whether lovingly propagated, gifted or bought are all subject to the same natural laws, in this case rooting temperature. Tomato plants WILL NOT grow new roots at a soil temperature below 59 F –14.5 C. How often do we hear “My tomato plants don’t seem to be growing”. That’s because they are not. The top 1″of soil may be ‘aired’ but 4 -6 inches down the temperature may be 45 -50 degrees. A Soil thermometer is a very useful tool, (Birthday or Christmas Present ?) but it needs to be used carefully and placed some 4″down in the border.

Read more: Terry's Tomato Tips: Spring

Terry's Tomato Tips: May Blossom

May, the month of blossoms. From apple trees in all their glory to the quiet blooms on the gooseberry, they are all producing pollen. It is the same in the greenhouse, where the early tomato pollen is eagerly awaited. It is s simple really, viable pollen, receptive stigma, successful fertilisation, lovely tomatoes.

It’s those fertilised flowers on that bottom truss that ‘anchor’ the plant down into a regular cropping pattern rather than just a vegetative growing one. Tomato flowers with their 5 or more anthers hanging down close to the stigma are ideally adapted for self-fertilisation and from mid-season onwards this is usually what happens. Although pollination of greenhouse tomato varieties can take place over a narrow range of temperatures the optimum for these is 68F/ 20C for both anther and stigma. The actual quality and potential viability of the pollen will depend on the nutrient status of the plant and health of the flower itself. Tomato plants being grown organically usually have bright yellow flowers with plenty of pollen, over many years I have only see’ dry set’ after the most severe climatic conditions, when there has been no pollen to fertilise the stigma.

Read more: Terry's Tomato Tips: May Blossom

Terry's Tomato Tips

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From Val's Plot

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Jack First's Advice

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