Tomatoe plants...basic how to guide needed?

So I have three tomatoe plants, they are a beefstake, sweet million and sun baby. I though I knew what I was doing with them but that stopped now they are growing their yellow flowers and I have come to a halt. I have tried reading guides/manuals/online how to/wiki and google but find it so confusing as it is for avid gardeners...I just love tomatoes and want to have my own proudly grown supply!

Can anybody help me with them please?!!

The vitial stats are;

The 3 plants are sitting in my front garden in a long black trough style pot next to each other, they are about a foot and a half high, tied to bamboo canes to support them.

They are in direct sunlight (not in a greenhouse I dont have one) all day as my garden faces the sun.

Each plant has flowers now, two just have the green buds coming, one has yellow open flowers that are now starting to wilt and hve gone limp and look like they are about to die! This plant also has some white spots on a few of the leaves.

I water them from the roots morning and some evenings about 6pm if the compost looks dry.

I have not used any liquid feed on them yet but have some miracle grow stuff in the shed ready.


Thankyou to anybody who can pass on any tips, however small or big they maybe!



  • Dotty6Dotty6 Posts: 6

    thats brilliant thanks found it really helpfull!

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    Dotty, do you mean you're watering every day? They don't need that much water. Let the mix dry out.

    What sort of Miracle Grow fertiliser do you have in the shed? Standard all-purpose Miracle Grow isn't suitable for toms. It has way too much nitrogen. You'll end up with lots of foliage at the expense of fruit. You'd be better off buying a tomato-specific fertiliser. Don't use it till you get your first fruit setting and use it only sparingly afterwards.

  • Dotty6Dotty6 Posts: 6

    hi yes every day, the soil looks very dry and sandy if i dont.  the miracle grow is for toms and veggies it has directions on the back, but i might get a potash one ive read about this. 

    anyone else having trouble with lack of bees around too? 

  • BrummieBenBrummieBen Posts: 459

    First question is how big is the trough? Next question is if it is only about 6 inches deep, and maybe 6 wide, you really will need to move them. (no small task without losing them or severely setting them back) Italophile is right (as usual on tommy matters!) the trick with tomatoes is the watering and feeding. Most people grow toms in 'growbags' which really aren't fit for purpose if you ask me. You plant 3 plants in one then have to water every day and still get split fruit or problems from over-watering. I much prefer to plant my toms in large pots (typically 16"), good drainage is essential, so a good couple of inches of coarsely broken up polystyrene in the bottom is a must. I usually mix in some of my soil to a compost mix with a dash of sharp sand too. (my soil is clay, but it helps give the peat free compost some 'weight' and helps it hold on to moisture) I find this way I don't have to water everyday unless it's been really hot, and the plant has plenty of space to grow a great set of roots and so really throw everything into producing fruit. I'm not saying my way is the best or easiest, but it's what works for me, and it's lots easier than the growbag method.

    Back to growing beefsteak outside, you really are an optomist, lets hope we have a terrific summer, otherwise you'll have blight long before your fruits have even finished swelling, let alone ripening. I did the same first time I started, it's a learning curve, currently only toms I grow with any success outside would be tumbling toms. This is mainly due to the size of the fruits and how little heat they need to ripen. I wish you good luck, lets us know how you get on.

    PS, it's normal the flowers wilt and fade, it's what they do, the fruit grows from behind them.

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    Dotty, what sort of soil are they planted in? Commercial potting mix? It sounds very odd that the soil is dry and sandy when it's being watered every day.

    Like BB, I'd like to know the dimensions of the trough, too.

    Have a look at the Miracle Grow pack. You'll see figures for N, P and K. That's Nitrogen, Phosphorous and the K stands for Potassium. What are the numbers on the pack? They're the key figures to look at in fertilisers for toms.

    For toms, the N figure should be low, the P and K figures substantially higher.

  • Dotty6Dotty6 Posts: 6

    Thankyou for all of your help everybody, thee are the first lot of homegrown veggies ive tried so all of your advice helps!

    The trough isnt big at all im not sure how big I cant find my tape measure or my camera or I would show you on here image but as a rough guess and from what you have said it is defiantly too small, I am going to get some big pots from the garden center tomorrow.

    I only decided to attempt to grow beefstakes as I absoluty LOVE them and in my little dream world thought I would have a luscious supply to munch on as I pleased haha. A girl can dream....

    Italophile-yes it is bog standard multi purpose compost from the garden center,it said it was good for growing veggies on the back of it, I took said compost bags advice image


    I think when I go to get my big containers I will treat myself to some tumbling toms aswell....


    Has anybody got any piccies of their toms? I feel like they are my babies are the moment!





  • steephillsteephill Posts: 515

    A recent Beechgrove Garden showed a tomato grower who has gotten huge crops from very small pots with very little compost. He has been doing this for many years too. He does feed them every day though. Have a look on iPlayer.

  • BrummieBenBrummieBen Posts: 459

    Currently wilkinson are doing the 4 tier greenhouse for just 17.99 I think. They have 4 shelves and a cover, the great thing is you can take the shelves out and stick two beef stakes in their new pots inside, should help protect from the blight, just be sure to unzip the cover if it's a sunny day! The great thing about using these mini greenhouses rather than the cheaper 'tomato greenhouses' are the shelves. Next year come march april, they are great with the shelves in for hardening off plants and seedlings. Just be sure to secure them very well to a wall. They do have a penchant for blowing away in the wind! Good luck.

  • BrummieBenBrummieBen Posts: 459
    steephill wrote (see)

    A recent Beechgrove Garden showed a tomato grower who has gotten huge crops from very small pots with very little compost. He has been doing this for many years too. He does feed them every day though. Have a look on iPlayer.

    It is possible, but if you want to be tied to the GH morning and night for the growing season I guess this is what to go for. Maybe he lives in the GH? Reason I've ended up with big pots is I just found the watering was not fun at all, not morning and night, and still getting split fruits and blossom end rot. If I manage to sell off all my sunflowers and pumpkins and courgettes at the school fair in next week or so, I'm using the money to maybe invest in a hydroponic setup.

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