GARDENING: Wonderful memories of Grandma's tomatoes for Sunday tea

The time is ripe to plant tomatoes
The time is ripe to plant tomatoes

Some good news this week, we will be able to plant the tomatoes out into the garden now. It’s best to wait until the first week in June because the risk of frosts has gone and with a bit of luck it won’t be windy.

 Tomatoes like a sunny well-drained spot in well prepared soil. 

They don’t need manure. B lood, fish,  and bone fertiliser is exactly what is needed and each plant has a handful mixed into the ground when planting the plants.

If you don’t have much space, grow three plants in a growing bag on a pathway in the sun.

There are specially- made frames which go below and at the back of the growing bag which enable you to put the canes into the growing bag to support the plants.

Outdoors in the open garden push a 5ft long cane into the ground, dig out the hole with a trowel, plant the rootball and lightly firm the soil. 

Finally, plant the flower pot into the soil alongside the plant and then it’s easy to water them as the water goes straight down to the root.

The side shoots are removed regularly, the plants are fed once the little fruits are the size of a five pence piece with a soluble tomato food,  according to the directions on the bottle.

Once there are five trusses of flowers, the tops are removed from the plants. 

After this  the side shoots need to be removed more often.

The plants need to be tied to the canes regularly and it’s a good idea to carry some twist ties in the pocket as they always need tying in when you haven’t got the string.

Unfortunately there is a serious disease which attacks the plants during the latter part of June – it is called tomato blight.

 I t strikes suddenly, the foliage is scorched, it spreads like mad and the fruits are inedible.

This disease can be prevented but not cured. 

Copper mixture can be used in a sprayer to prevent an attack.

Use the product in accordance with the directions for treating copper deficiency.

The disease is spread by spores which arrive when the humidity is high, keep an eye out on the weather forecasts and spray to prevent the problem.

If it rains, the spray must be repeated, the disease can’t attack if the leaves are covered with one of the copper compounds.

Buy some now, when you try to get some in late June there will be none left at the garden centres.

At the end of summer, if you find you have lots of green tomato fruits, wrap each one separately in half a sheet of newspaper, put them into a drawer and they will ripen slowly.

When I was a little boy I used to unwrap them with my dear grandma, we had to find six for salad tea on a Sunday!

Wonderful memories.

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Are you one of those wonderful people who take green waste to a recycling centre? You will be able to get more into the car if all the material is cut up so that it can be put into large plastic sacks. It’s far quicker to dispose of at the centre.