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Love and care brings fruit!

A fine crop of tomatoes. (3226512)
A fine crop of tomatoes. (3226512)

Six or seven weeks ago during my 'grow your own fruit and vegetables period', I planted some cherry tomatoes with my daughter Elizabeth and wife Claire. To make it interesting, we placed a bet on whose tomato plant would grow the tallest and whose tomato plant would produce the most fruit.

Well, I can proudly announce that I won both contests, but, of course, it’s not about the winning it’s about the taking part. However, for me, it was all about the winning!

Below, I shall outline my winning plan. These top secret tips are for your eyes only. Please do not let them to fall into the wrong hands. Mr Ward at number 23 would kill for these tips.

Step one

You have to start with a good quality tomato plant and suffice to say the best place to buy one from is from a local garden centre.

I chose Sweet Million as my preferred variety, following extensive discussions with Graham, Baytree’s Mr Botanist.I bought a large grobag as well as a bag of multi-purpose compost. I cut a round hole into the grobag, in which I inserted a tomato pot which I found at a car boot sale for 50p.

For those of you unfamiliar with a tomato pot, it’s just a pot with no base; in other words, a tube. Anyhow, I filled the tomato pot with the multi-purpose compost. I then planted my tomato plant into the soil ensuring that the support cane was well away from the roots of the plant. After that, I gave Derek - my tomato plant - a good watering mixed with tomato feed to welcome him into his new home.

Step two

I regularly watered him so that the soil was moist but not soggy. When Derek’s first truss of flowers appeared, I began to feed him with ‘Tomorite’. As he grew taller, I tied him gently against a support cane. Once four sets of flowered trusses had formed, I removed the top of the plant just above that fourth truss.

Step three

Each day you could see Derek working hard to produce the best fruit he could. Slowly, but surely, the flowers began to form little green balls. At this point, it was really important to keep feeding Derek, though I was mindful to not overfeed or overwater him, as I didn’t want my tomato crop to split as they ripened.

Step four

As the sun became hotter, I kept watering Derek in the morning and in the evening, being careful to water the base of the plant and not his leaves.

Well, harvest time has arrived and I am dead proud of Derek, my award-winning tomato plant!

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