Tomatoes can be prone to a variety of pests, diseases and problems during summer.
Here are our top tips for keeping your tomatoes healthy and productive:
· Prevent fruit fly - adult female fruit flies lay their eggs just underneath the skin of developing tomatoes (you may notice a small ‘sting’ mark on the skin). The eggs then hatch into maggots, which ruin the fruit. Start baiting for fruit flies each week from when the fruit is still small and before it starts to change colour with Yates® Nature’s Way® Fruit Fly Control. It is applied onto the tomato foliage, rather than the fruit itself, and attracts the fruit fly which then ingests a combination of the sugar and protein bait and an insecticide derived from soil bacteria (spinosad).
· Aphid, caterpillar and disease control - To protect tomatoes from common pests and diseases, lightly dust Yates Tomato & Vegetable Dustover the plants every week. Yates Tomato & Vegetable Dustcontains an effective combination of insecticides and fungicides to control insect pests like caterpillars and aphids as well as diseases like powdery mildew and leaf spots.
· Prevent blossom end rot - keep watering tomato plants thoroughly to ensure the soil is consistently moist. Inadequate or irregular watering, which contributes to calcium deficiency, can predispose tomato fruit to develop a condition called blossom end rot. An application of Yates Hydrangea Pinking Liquid Lime & Dolomite can help reduce the incidence of blossom end rot by supplying plants with calcium.
Tasty Gross Lisse tomatoes
In temperate and cool zones there’s still time to start tomatoes from seed during December. You can sow tomatoes year round in tropical and sub-tropical areas and in cool areas look for seedlings in your local nursery. December sowing will help keep your kitchen stocked with this versatile vegie well into autumn or get creative and make your own passata that you can enjoy during winter.
Gross Lisse is a tall growing variety that will need support with some stakes or a tomato cage. It can be grown in a sunny garden bed and also containers, so balcony and courtyard gardeners don’t need to miss out on growing their very own tomatoes.
· Sow seed 6 mm deep, cover with seed raising mix and water gently.
· Keep the soil or seed raising mix moist and seedlings will start to emerge in around 6 – 12 days.
· For seedlings raised in punnets they can be transplanted into their final home, in either a garden bed or a container, when they’re 5 – 7 cm tall.
· Once the seedlings are established, start feeding each week with Yates Thrive® Tomato Liquid Plant Food, which will provide the tomatoes with a balanced diet of nutrients to promote lots of healthy growth and encourage lots of flowers which will turn into delicious fruit.
You’ll be harvesting your very own tasty tomatoes around 12 – 14 weeks after sowing.