Q&As/Tomatoes/Tomato Care

Question

When do I need to feed my tomato plants and what do you recommend? I‘ve heard you have to pick some growths off but not sure what to do and from where. Also, do you have to put anything on them for white flies or bugs that may eat them?

Answer

Hopefully you have started out by planting your tomatoes in a warm, sunny, sheltered site and into soil that has been enriched by copious amounts of compost. In terms of feeding them, when plants reach 20cm you can begin side dressing with Daltons Tomato Fert every 2-3 weeks throughout the growing period. Water plants deeply two to three times a week and avoid getting the foliage wet. 
Tomato plants need to be staked, preferably prior to planting. As they grow they will need to be tied to the stake using a soft tie, such as panty hose, which won’t damage the stem. Small shoots will appear between the main stem of the tomato plant and the leaf branch; these are called laterals and should be removed in the first five to six weeks. When the plant reaches 50-60cm you can allow one or two other laterals to grow (securing to the stake). This will increase the amount of fruit you will harvest. 
To help tomatoes stay pest and disease free, ensure you keep them regularly watered and fertilised. Irregular watering can lead to black bottom where the base of the developing tomatoes start rotting. Watch out for green shield bugs that burrow into the young tomato plants. Inspect plants regularly and remove young bugs to keep populations in control.

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