Growing Tomatoes

Sliema, Malta

Last year I planted tomato seeds and they grew very well, until they were attacked by insects at the beginning of summer. (I was told by a local farmer that it was probably an insect that goes inside the leaves and sucks them dry.) I plan on trying again this year, but would like to provide a netting to shelter the plants from insects. To do this, I intend putting four large pots in a square, place a bamboo stick in each one, join them across with bamboo cane joiners, and then place a netting over them. That way, the tomato plants can be put inside this shelter. My concerns are these:
1. if the netting is fine so as not to allow insects to get through, how are the blossoms going to get pollinated? Will wind be enough?
2. What can I plant in the four support pots that might be beneficial for tomatoes? I wouldn't like to have 4 pots standing around with just compost in them! I was thinking basil, salad leaves and rucola.

Thanks very much for your help!

Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

well you wont have to worry much about the pollination issue, as tomatoes are a self pollinating flower, although giving the plants a gentle shake every so often helps them out a bit more.

As for companion plants for tomatoes, here is a pretty decent list of some examples:

Sliema, Malta

Thanks a lot for your help, now all I need is to find the appropriate netting!

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Check a fabric store for white tulle. That's what I use, and it's cheap.

Plantersville, TX(Zone 9a)

You probally won't need to worry about insects in the Fall.

dubai, United Arab Emirates

Hi monkeyflower and others I am trying to grow cherry tomatoes. Just planted last month (from seeds). How big should the plant have been now? I've got four seedlings planted in a 2.5 gallon container and its got just 2 or 3 leaves per seedling. Is it growing slower than usual?

Thumbnail by vanita79 Thumbnail by vanita79
Sliema, Malta

@ Darius: The garden centre suggested I use curtain netting as opposed to tulle, she said tulle might not be very weather resistant and I might need to change it often. Have you had any problems in this regard?

@ Behillman: My plants have already started growing from random tomato seeds I had thrown in the pots, and we are still in full summer weather at the moment! I'd like to be prepared! :)

@ Vanita79: I'm not really an expert, as I've only been gardening for a year, but I would think it's growing quite normal. They might have a sudden growth spurt - that's what usually happens with mine! Good luck! :)

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

The tulle I used over my squash plants was only on for a short time to prevent squash borers, and then I removed and laundered it.

I think it all depends on what's available in your area, and how you use it.

Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

i used tulle to keep the carrot / rust flies off of my carrot plants, it lasted quite a long while, although it can tear easily if you mishandle it, seeing as how fine the mesh is.

Sliema, Malta

That's good to know, thanks! I'll see what I find, and what's cheapest!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Here you go!

I bought a bolt of the Ivory tulle last month. It'll last forever (or at least a couple seasons for each piece), depending on how careful you are with it.

Don't snag it! Wash it, and go again!


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