There’s really nothing like the taste of a home-grown tomato and if you’re growing some this year, give your plants the best chance of producing perfect tomatoes. Here are a few solutions to some common problems (text taken from ‘How to Grow Tomatoes’ listed on the Mini Guides page )
Blight is the worst tomato enemy. If your plants get infected, there’s nothing you can do but pull up the plants and burn them. Ouch. But there are precautions. The blight virus is prevalent during mild muggy weather.
Many growers swear by a preventative dose of ‘Bordeaux’ mixture which is a combination of hydrated lime and copper sulphate. However, although Bordeaux Mix was considered to be organic, we now know it’s not a particularly good product to use in the garden.
*There are some new hybrid varieties of tomato appearing all the time that are blight resistant.
Another way to avoid blight attacking all your plants is to plant them in spots around the garden rather than in lines. A tomato plant on each corner of a vegetable patch, a couple in the flower beds, maybe one or two in containers etc; can help prevent the virus spreading. This does mean the garden doesn’t look so ‘ordered’, but worth trying, especially if you expect warm muggy weather.
Slugs and Snails:
All young plants are vulnerable to slug and snail attacks. Don’t take any chances. Protect your plants with any organic means you can find. An old method was to sink a bowl of beer in the ground at night. Apparently slugs love beer and providing a swimming pool of it will seduce them away from your plants. Slugs can’t swim, as far as I know, so you will have to deal with a bowl of dead drunk slugs in the morning. **I’ve tried this and it worked!
Crushed egg shells, sand, salt and other deterrents around your plants works well, but make sure there are no gaps where the slugs can enter.
As far as I know slugs don’t usually look like this, but they could definitely be considered as monsters in the garden!
Too much water sitting in the ground can rot the roots of your plants very quickly. Check the soil after a heavy rain-fall, or if you’re region is prone to flooding. If water-logging is a problem there are a couple of solutions. You could add drainage material to the soil and landscape design it well.
Or use containers. Nearly everything you’ll ever need to grow can be grown in a well-drained container of some kind. Always use good potting or seed compost in pots and containers to give your plants all the nutrients they need.
Tomatoes will need watering in dry weather conditions to develop fruits fully. If plants dry out, they are unlikely to do what you want them to. The midday sun can scorch the leaves of your plants – they won’t be happy. Shade from a hot midday sun to avoid this. Tomatoes do need lots of water. If you see fruits splitting, it’s generally because they aren’t getting enough water.