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Growing tomatoes: how to care for, blight prevention, other tips
Mon 19-Jul-10
6:58 pm
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Danny
Scarborough, England
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It would be good to share tips and experiences on general tomato
care, pest control, blight prevention techniques etc.

This was prompted by a comment left by Sarah on the blog™s
Tomato Blight article. She is a newbie to growing tomatoes

Specifically she asked about pruning her beef tomato plant
(it™s quite bushy), what exactly blight is and how we can help prevent it.

I will get Fiona to lend her experience too.

Never knowingly underfed

Mon 19-Jul-10
7:03 pm
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SandyC
Turkey

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pest control.... neem oil

The more people I meet, the more I love my animals!

Mon 19-Jul-10
7:28 pm
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Danny
Scarborough, England
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I had never heard of neem oil until you mentioned it recently, Sandy. It does appear to be a safe and organic pest control agent. Scroll down to Uses in this Wikipedia article.

Never knowingly underfed

Tue 20-Jul-10
7:19 am
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JoannaS
Latvia

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I have never grown vine tomatoes before always bush ones and never realised how many side shoots you can get from a plant, even the trusses are sending out side shoots from the ends - if that makes sense. Is this normal or just the type of tomatoes we have?

 

Tue 20-Jul-10
9:57 am
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devongarden
Devon, UK

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I have a mixture of tomatoes, and try to remember which ones to pinch out the side shoots from. I have read that you can get new plants from the pinched out side shoots. I never have room for more at that stage of their growth. Has anyone tried this?

Blight monster

Last year I had to harvest all my tomatoes early because of it. Has anyone else tried Green Pizza Sauce? It works. I found an excellent Green Tomato chutney or pickle or something recipe in the Mennonite Community Cookbook. I think it was called an old French recipe. I cut the tomatoes really small (food processor) so it is a relish. Apart from quantities (recipes need to be scaled down for my garden) it is an excellent source of recipes for using up everything. I use my mother's copy.

I use Bordeaux Mixture for blight when I see the first signs. It works on tomatoes, not potatoes. It used to be approved for organic growing, I can't remember if it still is. Making sure the leaves don't touch the ground makes it harder for the spores to be splashed onto the plants. Stripping all the lower leaves off to give a good flow of air through the plants helps, and if blight does strike taking out as many leaves as possible. I did get a few riper tomatoes by doing that before I had to rip out the lot.

As I said, blight monster. The current weather is perfect for it.

monster monster monster

Tue 20-Jul-10
10:43 am
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JoannaS
Latvia

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I noticed that the long dangly leaves of our vine tomatoes were looking a bit sad and so I removed all lower growth and anything that remotely looks sick, seems to have worked as the rest of the plants are looking good.

I don't think Bordeaux mixture is recommended any more for organic growers.

I ended up chutneying all my tomatoes last year because of blight but they were outdoor grown ones and we had a miserable summer (not as bad as the UK but still pretty bad).shoo_fly

Tue 20-Jul-10
10:59 am
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danast
Argyll, Scotland

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wave  I remove side shoots almost every day and yes I have tried to plant side shoots and it works.  If they are of a good size- ones I have missed - I just stick them in a pot of compost and they root themselves, giving you a new tomato plant.

I lost all my tomatoes last year to blight and am so nervous about it now.  monster

Old teachers never die, they just lose their class

Tue 20-Jul-10
12:53 pm
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JoannaS
Latvia

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Have you ever tried stripping all the leaves off plants when blight season begins? Just wondering how worth it is when there are plenty of tomatoes on the plants.

Tue 20-Jul-10
2:21 pm
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Danny
Scarborough, England
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It's not a bad idea, Joanna. there is one tomato guru out there who sells an ebook that encourages stripping off most of the leaves anyhow. Apparently it greatly increases the fruit yield. Obviously, there is a balance between enabling the plant to to thrive versus the plant putting too much energy into just growing leaves. I don't have the full details.

Never knowingly underfed

Tue 20-Jul-10
2:32 pm
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johnmcc
Norfolk UK

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My old Dad (b. 1915) always grew tomatoes in the soil in his greenhouse and insisted that each plant had a gallon of water each day and was fed a couple of times a week.  He left the door and windows open at all times, and the greenhouse was in a partially shaded spot " sun up to about three in the afternoon.  He always had a good crop and never had blight.  He said plenty of water and good ventilation were needed.

 

Oh, and he rigorously stripped side shoots, and cut half of each leaf away once the fruit started ripening.

What's wrong with the politics of envy, anyway?

Tue 20-Jul-10
3:28 pm
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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wave  Hello and a BIG welcome John, good to have you with us.  toffeeapple

I'll try that again!

Tue 20-Jul-10
6:34 pm
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johnmcc
Norfolk UK

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Thanks.  Forgot to say he also only grew boring old Moneymaker, so not sure it was worth it . . .

What's wrong with the politics of envy, anyway?

Tue 20-Jul-10
6:51 pm
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ep
Bulgaria

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Well I didn't need to strip the side shoots¦.the blasted cows got in my garden yesterday and not only stripped the side shoots but the whole blinking lot and my sweet corn as well¦today¦.barbed wire just to keep the beesties out¦.they took out my azaleas, my rosemary¦.in fact they did the lot¦.as we say in Bulgarian¦loshooo¦.really bad cows.  So I've spread the news in the villiage and await offerings¦.whistlewhistle

 

Just a quick one Joanna...does neem oil work on cows....

 

And welcome Johnmcc.

Who lives long sees much : The diary of my life in Bulgaria

Tue 20-Jul-10
7:33 pm
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danast
Argyll, Scotland

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wave Oh ep that is really awful.  To have that happen after such hard work is a catastrophe.  Before I grew veggies, I came home one day to find that the sheep had got over the fence at low tide and had managed to find all my bedding plants.  I felt bad enough then, but at least it wasn't  my food they had gorged on.   big_hug  to you.

Old teachers never die, they just lose their class

Tue 20-Jul-10
7:53 pm
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JoannaS
Latvia

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Thanks John, I always thought that tomatoes should have loads of water but my hubby seems to think they should exist on less whistle. Having said that we have to sort out our water situation before we can give them that much everyday. I would be a rather cautious about leaving the doors open all night, I think the deer and the hare might get in and our nights can get cold quite quickly here in Latvia now the days are turning. I think our very large and high polytunnel does help though to keep it ventilated. My grandad always used to grow lovely tomatoes but I was only 13 when he died and didn't really get into the ins and outs of what he did or which variety he grew.

ep big hugs big_hug, they should be trained like the wild pigs around here - at the moment they are very kindly clearing all the dratted ground elder and piling the roots up neatly in the middle. Wish they would do that for the whole lot.roll_eyes

I think it was someone else who mentioned neem oil so can't help there eeek

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