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Surprise tomato plant!

I have never grown tomato plants, but one has appeared in a bed below my kitchen window.  I have a theory about how it got there.  Some time ago part of the external wastepipe that comes from my kitchen sink got detached at the joint, so that for a couple of days all the waste water etc. was gushing over the flowerbed.  Well, I do eat quite a lot of tomatoes of one particular variety, so if it fruits the chances are it would be an Asda Aromatico cherry tomato plant.  It is about 9" high at the moment and growing fast, but neither the soil or the position is ideal.  So I need some advice on size of pot, type of compost, staking(?), feeding and watering please.  There are little pairs of leaves forming in the leaf axils. 

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  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 13,935

    Well it seems to be growing OK.It is late, and may not ripen fruit by September, but if we have a good summer......

    Give it a stake and feed it on tomato food.

    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • TomskTomsk Posts: 204

    I had a similar situation last year, when a tomato plant grew in a compost bin.

    I left it until it was big enough to handle being transplanted (it was awkward removing it from inside the bin but a flower bed may be easier for small shoots) and moved it to a 37" pot.

    It produced a few tomatoes but they weren't that great. I think that was mainly down to me not knowing anything about growing them. This year I've deliberately grown several plants from seed and despite being transplanted to soil a month or two later than they should have been (circumstances) they're now doing well.

    If you think you can gently lift your plant from the flowerbed without damaging the fine roots, perhaps with a kitchen fork rather than a big tool that will take a big scoop of soil out, move it to a pot about one foot across. If you don't have one and want a makeshift alternative, Aldi are currently selling plastic builders' buckets for 99p. They're just about adequate to grow a single tomato plant, but you'll have to drill drainage holed in the bottom first.

    It's getting a bit late in the year, but I would try adding just four inches of compost to the bucket and plant your tomato in that (assuming it's still tiny and no proper leaves or stalk have grown yet). When it grows tall enough so there's three or four developed shoots coming 90 degrees from the main stalk, cut off the bottom couple and add more soil until there's just a couple of inches of stalk visible before the first branch. Don't over prune the shoots because the plant still needs some leaves to produce food.

    Repeat this process until the bucket is full and then let the vine grow as per usual. Doing this promotes more roots which should result in better tomatoes. You can add a bamboo pole or some other support as soon as the soil is deep enough to support it, so that you don't damage wide-spreading roots later on, when you finally need to use it.

    If you have any Gro-More in the house already, you could try using that until the vine starts producing flowers, since it may help speed up growth in the few months of summer we have left. Then you can use proper tomato feed. Last year, I used no feed at all and that's probably another reason the tomatoes weren't great.

  • Sorry I haven't been around for a few days - just very busy!  My tom plant is now about 14" tall.  I've taken a couple of pics, and since then I have pinched out the sideshoots.  What I'm concerned about is the white marbling on the leaves.  Should I be worried?

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  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 8,308

    The white mottling looks like leaf miner damage but is nothing to worry about.  I got this on one of mine nearest the greenhouse door where something had obviously flown in and laid eggs.  It only affected part of one leaf and didn't spread.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
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