Garden: Monty Don shares ‘best defence’ for outdoor tomatoes as risk of blight ‘increases’

Garden: Monty Don shares ‘best defence’ for outdoor tomatoes as risk of blight ‘increases’


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Gardening expert Monty Don regularly shares his top tips and tricks on various different topics. In his latest blog post, he shared the top things that you should do in your garden throughout the month of July. 

Monty Don explained that he does not plant outdoor tomatoes until June.

Writing on his blog, the expert explained: “But once they are in the ground they will grow strongly and need regular tying up.

“This is, of course, if you are growing cordon tomatoes rather than bush or determinate varieties.

“The latter can be propped up rather like an herbaceous plant rather than tied regularly in.

“As I tie them with soft twine I pinch out the side shoots and then water them.

“I do not feed the outdoor ones as our soil is plenty rich enough and they had a good mulch of compost just before planting, but the indoor tomatoes will have a weekly seaweed feed at the same time.”

Monty Don also shared how to protect the crops from blight.

Blight on tomatoes is a disease caused by a fungus-like organism that spreads rapidly in the foliage and tubers of the crop.

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The disease can be recognised with small brown marks on the tomato leaves which enlarge.

Leaves on the lower part of the plant may well have light coloured patches too as well as brown spots appearing on the stems and branches.

The expert explained: “From late July the risks of blight increase, dependent as it is upon the combination of high humidity and warm days and nights.

“The best defence for outdoor tomatoes is good ventilation and stripping off the lower leaves as the fruits develop helps this, as well as helping the ripening tomatoes have maximum exposure to sun.”

July is also a time to start picking fruit such as raspberries.

Monty said: “I would trade the very best strawberry for any raspberries and the summer fruiting varieties are at their best in July.

“Summer-fruiting raspberries carry their fruit on the canes that grew the previous summer – so all the fresh growth made in the current year will crop next July – whereas autumn-fruiting types such as ‘Autumn Bliss’ produce their fruit on the new season’s growth.

“There is a freshness and seasonal treat to the summer raspberries that makes them especially good and we often pick a bowl just before supper and eat with a little cream whilst they are still warm from the evening sun. Heaven!”

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According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), raspberries are “easy” to grow.

The RHS recommends keeping raspberries well-watered throughout dry periods, but it is important not to overwater.

They said: “Avoiding drought stress is especially important during fruit set and development.

“Apply water preferably at ground level; drip irrigation systems or a leaky house is ideal. Keeping the foliage, flowers and developing fruit dry helps to reduce the risk of fungal diseases.”

Although the British weather is extremely unpredictable at the moment, there are plenty of jobs in the garden that keen gardeners can be doing throughout the month of July.

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