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Tomatoes will thrive in midsummer with the right light, warmth, water and feed. But there's no point in ruining your hard work by watching the plant collapse under its own weight, when some simple staking will save the day. Nor do you want too many leaves when it's the precious fruits you want to savour, so here are a few timely tips to keep your plants on track for a bumper harvest.
|The first job is to stake up any tomato plants before they collapse under the weight of their fruit. Drive a bamboo cane into the soil next to the plant, taking care not to damage the roots, then tie the stems to the cane with twine, using a figure-of-eight knot, in one or more places, depending on how much support is needed.|
|Removing sideshoots is an important job which prevents the fruits being shaded by leaves. It also diverts the plant's energy into the growing fruit, so making it more productive. And it's a simple task: simply grasp the young shoot, emerging between main stem and fruiting branch, and bend it sharply downwards to give a clean break from the branch. Try not to leave a stump behind that will die back.|
|As temperatures rise, keep watering your plants whenever you think they need it - daily or every other day, depending on the temperature. Tomatoes really benefit from additional feeding; in particular potash (found in specialised tomato feeds) will keep the plants cropping well. Check the label of the tomato feed you buy to see how frequently you should use it.|