Outdoors

Monty Don shares the secret to protecting tomatoes from ‘risks of blight’ in late July

The horticultural expert will save your crop this month, but you may need to act this weekend

Monty Don tomato growing tip
(Image credit: Future)

BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Monty Don has shaped our kitchen garden ideas throughout the year – but his latest advice is among his most timely advice yet. Caring for your outdoor tomatoes is among the most important jobs that Monty recommends undertaking this month, but as the last day of July falls upon us, we’re rushing to follow his garden ideas

On his blog, Monty revealed that despite only planting his tomatoes in June, they need regular attention throughout July – especially in the latter half of the month, when they are under threat from blight. Here, he shares how to take care of your plant before August arrives. 

Monty Don's expert tomato growing tip, selection of tomatoes from a plant

(Image credit: Amateur Gardening)

Once the tomatoes are in the ground, Monty says they need ‘regular tying up.’ ‘This is, of course, if you are growing cordon tomatoes rather than bush or determinate varieties.’ Instead, determinate tomatoes should be ‘propped up rather like an herbaceous plant rather than tied regularly in.’

Monty recommends tying your cordon tomatoes with soft twine whilst simultaneously pinching out the side shoots before watering. ‘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,’ he adds. 

Vertical garden ideas with tomato plant

(Image credit: Future / Annaick Guitteny)

Perhaps most crucially, Monty then revealed the extra precautions you may need to take to protect your tomatoes from the late July ever-changing climate. He notes that the diverse weather will impact your plant and offers his small vegetable garden ideas – which will preserve their health at this point of the summer. 

‘From late July, the risks of blight increase, dependent as it is upon the combination of high humidity and warm days and nights,’ he says. ‘The best defense 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 the sun.’

Fresh tomatoes on a vine

(Image credit: Steve Cavalier / Alamy Stock Photo)

Monty’s advice may save your tomatoes this week – but for more tips on growing tomatoes, our expert guide is the next best place to start. However, in the meantime, we’re heading outside to save our plants before dusk falls over this sun-kissed month. You now know how we'll be spending our weekend. 

Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.