Gardening: Homebase shares tips to help grow tomatoes
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Tomatoes are an easy crop to grow at home as they can be planted in the garden or in containers. They can be grown from seed, however, it’s best to do this earlier in the year. For people hoping to grow tomatoes now, the best and “easiest option” is to buy the young plants from a garden centre or shop.
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Tomato plants like a “sunny spot” sheltered from any extreme wind.
Once tomato plants are planted, they need to be regularly watered and fed with tomato fertiliser, especially once the first fruit buds appear.
Garden experts at Homebase said the “key to success” for growing tomato plants is watering.
They said: “Watering is the key to success. Tomatoes need constant watering but too much water will rot the roots.
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“If the compost is allowed to dry out, the plants will soon wilt and the compost can become waterproof.
“So what looks damp on the surface is actually dry in the middle.”
Once the plants start to grow they’ll also need supporting with canes.
Tomato plants can be prone to pests like aphids and beetles.
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Aphids suck out the plant’s nutrients from leaves and stems leading to curling leaves.
Eventually, the plant can become damaged leading to lower yields and stunted growth.
Gardening experts at Homebase have shared the best “natural defence” for tomato plants against pests.
They said: “Another good tip for some natural defence against pests is to plant some basil nearby.
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“The smell can help to deter aphids and even improve the flavour of your tomatoes.
“These tomato and basil hanging baskets are a great alternative for hanging outside the kitchen door.
“You could also plant nasturtiums nearby which will attract the aphids away from your tomatoes.
“And, as a bonus the edible leaves and flowers will brighten up your summer salads.”
If left untreated, aphids can eventually lead to the death of the tomato plant.
Those growing bush tomato plants don’t necessarily need to pinch out their plants.
But those with vine tomatoes will need to pinch out the shoots that grow between the stem and the main branches.
This will help to focus the plant’s energy on growing good crops.
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