Home-grown tomatoes have the best flavour! The red balls bursting with nutrition can be grown both in your garden and on your balcony or terrace. Find out the five most important care tips for a rich harvest until well into the autumn here.
Tomatoes need a continuous water supply for healthy growth. Too little or too much water damages both the fruits and the plant itself. If the leaves of your tomato plant start to curl considerably, this could be a sign of drought stress combined with excessive salt levels in the soil. Are the fruits of your maturing tomatoes bursting? A change from sunny and hot weather to rainy and cloudy weather or watering after a long dry period is often to blame for this. The reason for this is the increase in pressure in the ripening fruits due to too much water, causing longitudinal or ring-shaped cracks. As with most things in life, it is important to strike the right balance when watering tomatoes. It is important to water from below and not from above! This prevents fungal diseases from taking hold.
Water alone is not enough to keep the plants healthy so they can grow many aromatic fruits. Tomatoes have a high nutrient uptake. They need a large amount of nutrients and require a lot of potassium in particular, in addition to nitrogen and phosphate. This regulates the water supply of the plant, strengthens the cell walls and increases the plant's resistance to diseases. You can often spot the first signs of nutrient deficiency on the leaves: The leaves turn yellow and only the tissue along the main vein stays green. You can simply and safely ensure that your plants get the nutrients they need with special tomato fertilisers.
If your tomato plant has already grown to an impressive size, you can support it with a climbing aid to stop it from folding over. In the summer months the plants also grow a lot of fruits when well cared for and should be helped with their load. Tomato sticks made from wood, plastics or bamboo as well as spiral sticks, grids or trellises can be used. You should attach your plant with garden bast fibres or special fastening clips (for spiral sticks only) so that your plant has enough support.
Young side-shoots should be regularly removed from the leaf axes so that the plant puts its energy into growing fruits, rather than into growing shoots. Removing side-shoots helps to ensure that the tomato plant is well supplied, promotes plant health and facilitates the growth of large well-ripened fruits. You can easily remove fresh shoots that are still very soft with your finger nails. If the shoots are a little older and harder, it is a good idea to use a sharp knife so that you don't needlessly damage the tomato plant. At the end of August, the top of the tomato plant is pruned, in addition to the side-shoots, with one leaf left above the last flower head. Trimming allows the already formed fruits to continue ripening until the first frost.
Besides diseases caused by nutrient deficiency and inconsistent water supply, tomato plants are often infested by leaf blight and brown rot. Tomatoes have to fight particularly hard against fungal diseases during humid summers. Grey-green spots that later turn brown and spread very quickly form on the leaves. The fruits are also not spared from infestation: They develop brown spots and the flesh below these areas hardens. Remove the diseased parts of the plant as quickly as possible and treat the tomato vine with a plant protection product that fights this disease.