Water the plants in well to settle the soil around the roots (this is known as ‘ball watering’). Thereafter you need to adjust the watering according to the size of the plants and the weather.
Giving plants a thorough water rather frequent light sprinklings will encourage deep rooting in the early stages, but once the fruit start to swell you want to maintain an even moisture in the soil as erratic watering can cause blossom-end rot and fruit splitting. However, you want to keep the plants on the dry side as this gives smaller, more highly-flavoured fruit. You can feed every watering with a dilute high potash feed, or once a week with a more concentrated dose – follow the instructions on the packet.
Commercial growers support their plants by twisting the stems around very long strings – outdoors it is easier to use canes or poles. Remove the sideshoots whilst they are small -see our video on how to do this - Twisting Tomatoes - (training and side-shooting tomatoes).
If you are growing in a greenhouse or polytunnel make sure there is a good air flow to avoid temperatures above 26°C, if possible. You want to avoid condensation forming on the plants as this encourages disease.
Did You Know?
Premium tomatoes, such as tomatoes on the vine, are driving growth in the market. Vine tomatoes now account for half of the UK tomato production area.