Few show ‘feelings’ like tomatoes do

An unripe truss of tomatoes. Picture by Tom Pattinson.
An unripe truss of tomatoes. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

If early potatoes are the highlight of June, picking the first ripened tomatoes is one of summer’s delights.

And for two related plants the method of cultivation could not be more different.

Tomato vines need tying to a support system as they grow upward. They continually sprout non-productive side shoots that need to be pinched out, and watering can be demanded twice daily at the height of summer.

Short of talking to you, few plants show their feelings so readily as tomatoes. If they’re in an unheated environment pre-June and the temperature falls dramatically, the leaves turn blue with cold. When short of water they droop, but given moisture, recover quickly. However, such checks undermine a plant’s health.

If you’re just going to cultivate a few plants, one option is to buy them as plugs, rather than sow a whole packet of seed. Currently, it could be mini plug plants or standard size. They will need potting-on and a position with light and moderate warmth.

The ultimate short cut is to buy potted plants ready to go as May unfolds.