Gardeners' World: Monty Don removes shoots from tomatoes

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Tomato plants and bushes should be in full swing of growing as the summer sunshine begins to ripen the fruit. But if your plant is looking a little sparse, there are a few ways to encourage a bigger harvest. Gardening expert Fiona Jenkins from My Job Quote shared her top tips and how to make your own fertiliser with an unusual ingredient – pet hair.

Fiona said: “Everything begins with healthy seedlings, proper planting techniques, and proper tomato plant care.

“Try these suggestions to increase tomato plant yields per plant.” 

Plant in warm soil 

“You can plant warm-season plants like tomatoes as soon as the temperature reaches 12.7 to 15.5 C,” the expert explained. 

“Using black plastic mulch to warm the soil for a week or two until planting can help if you want to jump-start the growing season.” 

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Plant tomatoes deep

“Tomatoes develop roots along their stems,” she said. “Planting them further down can help the plant develop a stronger root system.” 


“Growing a tomato garden requires a lot of mulching,” Emily added.  

“Mulching aids moisture retention and helps maintain a constant temperature. 

“You could keep your soil cooler for longer if you mulch before the soil has warmed up.”

Trim the lower leaves 

“This aids in shielding the plants from the fungus that can land on the leaves after heavy rain,” the expert continued. 

“Trimming the leaves closest to the soil should begin once your tomatoes are a few feet tall.”

Feeding tomatoes can also encourage them to grow bigger and stronger – thus more fruit should emerge. 

“Light fertiliser should be added once every one to two weeks after the tomato plants begin bearing fruit,” Fiona said. 

The expert also revealed how you can make your own tomato feed or fertiliser with compost, pet hair, broken egg shells and used coffee and tea grounds. 

“The foundation of a homemade tomato fertiliser should include high-quality compost,” Fiona said. 

“A great ingredient for tomato fertiliser is pet hair. The valuable protein called keratin can be found in hair.

“In addition, hair makes a good slow-release fertiliser because it takes time to decompose. 

“Because crushed eggshells are rich in calcium, they make excellent fertilisers to mix into tomato soil. 

“In addition, calcium may play a significant role in avoiding blossom end rot. 

“Used coffee and tea grounds contain low nitrogen levels and a good amount of potassium and phosphorus, which is great for growth,” she added. 

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