Caring for summer tomatoes no dig, no feeding

20 thoughts on “Caring for summer tomatoes no dig, no feeding

  1. Hello Charles,
    I have been watching your videos and started studying your no dig method during the covid crisis last year. We started a greenhouse and finally finished it in March. I had some seedling failures, but I finally used your multi seed method which produced many seedlings! I finally have my no dig garden started with lots of plants I started myself from seed. I can’t tell you how helpful your videos have been to me. I also have a compost pile I starting using from your video. A lot of this year’s plants will be an experiment for me. I live in the US right on the line of planting zones 7 and 8. I have also put lots of cardboard around my flower beds. I will send you pictures soon. Thank you for all you do.

    1. That sounds exciting Robin, and well done for getting this far – it’s not easy starting out, and learning so much as you go.

  2. Hello Charles,

    Your videos are a massive source of inspiration after studying the RHS way. I love the natural way you work.

    I have your diary and am saving up to do your courses.

    Please could I ask if you ever plant tomatoes outside? I do all of mine outside, I love in the south east, UK. I do have green house but it is full of flowers.

    If so, would be ok to ask how far apart would you plant them ( or which book this information would be in) and would it be ok to string them up like you would broad beans in the typical a frame style or do they need the a continuous flow of air?

    1. Hi Rosa
      In the south-east you are normally drier than here in the Southwest and outdoor tomatoes are usually possible for you. Main problem is late blight from August onwards. It’s risky and you won’t get a huge harvest, so I don’t grow them outside very much, because for all the time needed over many years, when you average in the failed crops, total harvest is small.
      A frame if you wish, I use canes and tie them. See online tomato lesson.

  3. When side shooting or removing leaves do you do it simply by twisting them off or do you use a knife to cut them? I have seen you use both methods. Is there a difference?

  4. Hey,
    I have been struggling to support my tomatos in previous years. They always get too heavy for the string in my greenhouse and end up collapsing causing damage to the plants which is always devastating!
    Do you have any tips on supporting tomatoe plants.
    Thank you so much. Hoping to do one of your courses in summer!

    1. Hi Ellie, just see my video the perfect climb. If it’s polypropylene string, securely tied to a top support, I don’t see why they should be collapsing. Or maybe you are just an amazing gardener with a huge harvest

  5. Dear Charles,

    Thank you for your generous videos. They are so incredibly helpful. I am setting up a new greenhouse. Can I grow tomatoes in soil that had potatoes in it last year and can I grow tomatoes in the same position and same soil in the greenhouse every year please?

    Best wishes


    1. Thanks, and yes on both counts.
      There may be a buildup of nematodes in the soil and it might be that after a few years you need to grow tomatoes on grafted rootstocks.

  6. Hi Charles
    I am so very inspired by your videos, thanks so much for your help and all the effort you have put into these. The production music and editing is also amazing. Thank you so much! I started a veg bed outdoors last year inspired by you and no dig. Harvested lots of kale squash chard spinach peas 🙂 Sutherland kale and the giant+pink chard produced on into the winter and spring to my surprise (plants are amazing!)
    The polytunnel gave lots of tomatoes chillis herbs etc which were all in pots. This year I am planning to put plants in the ground in the polytunnel and am spreading organic compost today in fact 🙂

    I wanted to ask when do you put tomatoes into the ground in the polytunnel. I am in Herts and have just started some tomato seeds indoors. Also can most tomato plants be grown outdoors without cover and if so when would you recommend putting them in the ground?

    Charles I can’t thank you enough! I so look forward to your videos. and hope some day I can visit Homeacres and have a peek around if you do visiting/educational days or as part of a course!

    Kindest regards

    1. Hello Raj, and well done, and great you are inspired.
      In your area it’s probably best to wait until after the middle of May before planting out frost sensitive plants such as tomatoes. Even in a poly tunnel, there is a small risk of damage and they grow more strongly when it’s warm.

      Outside, towards the end of May is normally a good time for transplanting tomatoes.

      Hope to meet you!

      1. Hi Charles
        Thanks for your reply and help! I will do as you said. I am looking forward to all of your coming videos – they are fantastic!

        Kind Regards

  7. Do you ever plant your tomatoes out in the garden on the beds that have cardboard underneath 6 inches of compost? I am struggling with the concept of shallow soil, stabilizing the plant and keeping the soil wet enough. I live at 49 degree lat in the interior of British Columbia, Canada where we can grow tomatoes outdoors

    1. It’s actually very rare that I use cardboard, only in year one when there are many many weeds to smother, so this would be a rare event. Nonetheless this will work because as long as the card is moist, tomato roots can pass through it and into the soil below. Tomatoes in 2013 here were excellent, with cardboard under the compost.

  8. Hi,
    If you bring tomatoes on from seed, do you prick out the little plants, or simply thin out to the best plant, and then plant on the entire root once large enough?
    TIA 🙂

  9. Hi Charles
    I grow tomatos and cumumber in large buckets in the greenhouse in normal bought soil I feed with tomato food or comfrey. I dont see any mention of you feeding yours do you?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Diane, and you are right I don’t, but I am growing them in soil and therefore they have a bigger root run. Yours do you need that something extra! This year I am trialling a few feeds just to see.

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