Gardening with Joyce Russell
AFTER long-awaited good weather, our gardens are making up for lost time and growing at a great rate. Plants that usually open flowers over several weeks are all opening together in a rush to make up for lost time.
This is a glorious moment in the garden. All is full of promise and everything looks so fresh and vibrant. My advice is not to waste a minute– get out and enjoy the arrival of summer as much as you can.
Plants are thriving in the polytunnel now and some are in flower. There are a few tips to help translate this stage of promise into great fruit further down the line – none are difficult but all take a little observation and patience.
• Tie the growing stems into supports as they grow. This avoids damage and means you take a good look at each plant while handling it.
• Nip out side shoots before they grow too big (except on bush and tumbling varieties). The smaller and cleaner the wound made by removing a shoot, the less chance there is that disease will enter the plant. Check in leaf joints and around the base of the stem.
• Take care not to nip out the growing point. If you do this by accident, then leave the highest side shoot on the stem to grow on as a new growing tip.
• Use a liquid feed every seven to 10 days as soon as fruits start to swell. Choose one that is balanced for tomatoes or make your own. Blossom end rot can be caused by shortage of calcium. Purple tinged leaves show a shortage of phosphorous.
• Water well and keep soil damp at all times. Tomatoes are thirsty plants.
I barely want to mention the colder months of the year, but this is the time to think of some plants that will feed you further down the line.
Plant Brussels Sprouts now for tasty green balls from autumn through to spring.