Gardening expert shares ‘brutal’ tip to encourage tomato plant to fruit – ‘chop them off!’

Alan Titchmarsh offers tips on watering tomato plants

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Gardening expert Jane Perrone has shared her top tips exclusively with Express.co.uk for looking after tomatoes at this time of year. Jane was working alongside Mash Direct, who launched a campaign to get people across the country growing their own vegetables and herbs. The gardening pro said the “main thing” tomato plant owners need to worry about is whether the plants have enough food and drink.

She explained: “Tomatoes are quite hungry plants, particularly if you’ve got them in a container.

“They dry out quite quickly and as soon as they get stressed, it really sets them back.

“You want to make sure they always have enough moisture and that you’re starting to feed them as well.

“Once the flowers start appearing, you can start feeding them tomato feed.

“That’s a specially formulated feed that comes in various brands.

“But you’re looking for ones that are tomato feed because they’re high in the nutrients that plants need in order to flower and produce the fruit.”

Jane said, in conclusion, you need to be feeding and watering them regularly.

“You can’t miss a day if they’re in a container, you’ve got to check them every day,” she added.

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Tomato plant owners should also aim to keep a “close eye” on their plants as they form.

If you’re growing a cordon tomato which grows upwards with one main stem, then you have to “pinch them out”.

Cordon tomatoes are simply those that are trained to grow upwards and put all their attention into flowering and fruiting rather than having extra side shoots.

These plants usually require canes, wire or bamboo to help secure them.

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Bush tomatoes are generally smaller and stop growing when they reach a certain height.

If you grow bush tomatoes you don’t have to worry about pinching them out.

Your tomato plants should be flowering by now on a type of stem called a “truss”.

The gardening expert continued: “With a cordon tomato, where it’s growing on one big stem, you want to get four sets of those trusses going.

“Four flower stalks going up the stem.

“Count up, and once you’ve got four, chop off the top of the plant.

“It sounds brutal but the idea there is, once you’ve got those four trusses growing you want all the plant’s energy to go into those four trusses.

“The fifth, the sixth, the seventh truss the plant produces probably won’t ripen before frost sets in.”

Mash Direct, the award-winning ‘field-to-fork’ vegetable accompaniments brand, launched the ‘Grow Your Own’ campaign to encourage more people across the UK to grow their own vegetables and herbs and to increase their vegetable intake to harness the associated health and wellbeing benefits.

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