TOMATO GROWING IS NOT DIFFICULT
How Amateurs Can Produce this Valuable Health-Giving Fruit
DIG FOR VICTORY LEAFLET No. 8 (Page 3 of 4)
GROWING IN THE OPEN
Tomatoes succeed best when grown against a sunny fence or wall, or on a warm border facing south. Failing these facilities, a row or two across the garden or allotment will achieve satisfactory results in average seasons.
Soil that has been well manured for a previous crop is best, provided a little complete fertilizer is worked into the top 6 in. before planting.
If the soil is poor, a dressing of well decayed manure should be applied, forking it in so that it is thoroughly mixed with the soil. If fresher manure is used, it is best to dig it in so that it is covered by about 9 in. of soil. Remember that a too generous use of manure will result in rank growth coupled with unfruitfulness, and the fruits may be coarse.
Frosts to be Avoided
Plant as early as possible, namely, from mid-May onwards according to lie district and risk of frost. The earliest plantings can be made in the South, but in the Midlands and North it may not be safe to plant until early June. If there is a risk of frost after planting, the plants may be lightly covered with paper, straw or anything that affords a little protection.
Use plants which have been well hardened off and of varieties especially suited to outdoor culture, such as Harbinger, Earliest of All, Potentate, Radio, Stonor’s Exhibition and Stonor’s Prolific.
Tomato varieties Harbinger, Earliest of All and Stonor’s Exhibition are easy to find nowadays and Stonor’s Prolific can be obtained from the Heritage Seed Library but Potentate and Radio are lost to us.
Well grown plants especially hardened for outdoor planting can usually be obtained from local nurserymen. Pot plants are the best for outdoor planting, but plants from boxes also give satisfaction.
Give adequate space ; the plants should not be closer in the rows than 18 in., with 3 ft. between the rows.
When the Fruit is Formed
Each plant should be staked at planting time. Remove all lateral growths (side-shoots) at regular intervals and keep the plants well tied to the stakes with soft string. Permit only one main stem to each plant, and stop growth by pinching out the growing point after 4 trusses of fruit have been formed. No more than this quantity can be ripened out of doors, and in unfavourable districts three trusses may be enough.
The plants should be watered in dry weather and it is better to soak the soil well at less frequent intervals than to give a little and often.
Great care should be taken not to bruise the fruit when picking and handling it, as upon this will greatly depend its keeping quality. The surface of the fruit, particularly around the calyx, should be allowed to become quite dry before the fruit is stored.