End of tomato season

Tomato plants in a line

Well, the end of September has rolled around very fast indeed. My tomato plants had ripened nearly all their fruits and it was time to pull them up. I have to confess I felt a bit sad doing this as I’ve been looking after them since May and I’ll miss an endless supply of home grown tomatoes.

It’s been my first year growing tomatoes and we’ve had a bit of topsy turvy weather so I refer to them as ‘miracle tomatoes’. They were transferred outside in some unusually warm weather, which then dipped to some very cold weather (4c at night). This was followed by a stable couple of months, then a damp and windy few weeks. But despite this we’ve had a bumper crop – and been eating tomatoes everyday for weeks.

Pulling up tomato plants

Digging them up mean’t untangling a complicated system of string and garden canes used to support the branches full of fruit.

Tangled tomato roots

A couple of the plants were as tall as me, so I was intrigued as to how big the roots would need to be in order to support a plant that large. The roots on the tallest plant were about 75cm long.

Old tomato plants on ground

I have a few unripened tomatoes, mainly where I got a bit lapse with pruning my suckers. But I plan to make some green tomato chutney so I don’t waste any of them.

Green and red tomato harvest

Lessons learn’t from my first year of growing tomatoes – tips!

  • Don’t sow too early. I was a bit eager and sowed my seeds too soon . As a result, I had them indoors for longer then they needed to be which made them a bit leggy (tall, thin and bendy). This was easily fixed by planting a couple of inches below the first set of leaves into the soil. Next time, I will sow 7 weeks before I plant outside.
  • Spiders have been fantastic at chomping their way through the black fly.
  • Tomatoes need alot of water. I watered mine a little every day and this was enough to keep them hydrated without overwatering them.
  • Don’t plant your young tomato plants too close together, they will get considerably bigger. I know this may sound obvious, but I only left about a foot between mine. This made pruning difficult because it hard to see which branches belonged to which plant.
  • Pruning suckers is made out to be crucial to tomato success on many websites. I pruned suckers frequently but I also missed quite a few and it didn’t have a negative impact on my crop. It’s good to remove as many suckers as you can, but don’t worry if you miss a few.

As long as you put your tomato plants in a sunny spot and don’t forget to water them, you will get tomatoes. I made a few mistakes this year but I’ve still had a fantastic crop of juicy, sweet tomatoes.

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