Getting more tomato flowers to turn to fruit is one crucial way of maximising your harvest. But it isn’t always that straightforward.
And sometimes, all those promising flowers come to nothing as they drop off the plant without ever turning into a tomato.
So, how do we combat this? Below is my guide to help you maximise your tomato yield and get more flowers to turn into fruit!
Hand Pollinate Them
If you are only to take one thing from this guide, let it be this, hand pollinating your tomato flowers will lead to more fruit.
This is more important for greenhouse-grown tomatoes as there is often a lack of natural pollinators in greenhouses.
Just get a paintbrush and brush around the flowers, making your way from flower to flower.
This is a little job, but it can help ensure each flower is pollinated. And if they are pollinated, they will start to turn into tomatoes!
Use The Right Fertiliser
When tomatoes start to form flowers, you want to change what you are feeding them.
Often you will begin by feeding tomatoes a high-nitrogen feed when they are young. This is a good idea as it helps the plants pack on green growth.
Once the first flowers appear, you want to swap from a high nitrogen feed to a high potash feed.
This is because it is potassium (potash), not nitrogen, that helps tomatoes create more flowers and support more fruit.
Specialist tomato feeds are made for this purpose, so get one ordered!
Remove The Lower Foliage
Asa your plants grow skywards, you should regularly remove the lower leaves.
This may feel a little drastic initially, but it benefits the plant.
The lower leaves aren’t doing much as the plant grows ever taller. Almost all photosynthesis happens in the young leaves at the top of the plant.
By removing these older leaves, we reduce the plant’s water needs, making it tougher and more resilient.
You also remove any issues arising from old, sickly leaves at the bottom of the plant.
Tomatoes that are under any stress may drop their flowers before tomatoes get the chance to develop. In the UK, this stress will often be a lack of water due to growing tomatoes indoors.
(it could also be heat stress during really hot summers. If you think heat may be an issue, try using shade cloth during the hottest parts of the day.)
That is why keeping your plants well-watered all summer long is essential.
This is often problem with tomatoes grown in grow bags as they can dry out very quickly and require daily watering.
If you can’t make it to the allotment every day, then growbag collars are a good way to ensure your tomatoes get all the water they need.
The collars sit on top of the soil and have a water reservoir. This means you need to fill the reservoir, and the collar will drip irrigate this into the growbag over time, meaning you have to water less often.
- Specially designed pot for growing in growbags
- Set of 6, measuring 26 centimetres across, so three fit neatly on a growbag
- The inner and outer watering troughs make feeding and watering easy
Grow Under Cover
Regulating your tomato’s growing conditions by growing them under cover in a greenhouse or polytunnel is one way to ensure bumper harvests.
Tomatoes don’t like it too hot, and they don’t like it cold either.
They thrive in the goldilocks zone, and growing them under cover helps us have more control over these otherwise external factors.
Tomatoes will grow outdoors in the UK, but the harvest is always reduced, and late-season blight can also be a frequent issue.