Judging by the response to the Ministry's advertisements in
earlier years, the tomato is crop No.1 with war-time gardeners and allotment
holders. Unfortunately, despite many warnings, some amateurs have been taken
in every year by unscrupulous people who sell them tomato plants far too
early for planting outside. It is foolish to hope that the danger of frost
is past until at least the end of May. As with so many gardening jobs there
is no fixed date for planting; it varies from about May 20 in the south-west
to the end of the second week in June in the north. Little is gained and
much may be lost by rushing plants out of doors a week or ten days before
the weather has warmed up.
The plants do not grow away well, and if the nights are cold they turn a
dark, unhealthy colour and are seriously checked.
Always buy your plants from a reliable supplier. A well-grown
tomato plant should be sturdy and short-jointed––about 6 or 8 in. high, with
the buds of the first flower truss visible in the head of the plant. The
distance between the leaves should be small and the leaves should be dark
and of a bluish tinge. As a rule, plants produced in pots are best for
planting in the open. Avoid "leggy" plants at all costs.
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