I managed to find five minutes to pick the side shoots off from the tomato plants. This time of year is so busy with the veg plot getting into full swing, so many veg to plant now all types of beans, courgettes, herbs, tomatoes the list is endless. Tomato plants naturally grow side shoots illustrated in the image left. We pick them off because tomatoes are vigorous plants. In the space of a few weeks they grow the best part of a metre and half; produce lots of flowers and fruit; they are very fast growing and the side shoots will make more and more branches if not nipped out and the plant will become huge. Stop the side shoots and you limit the branches and contain the plant so it puts energy into flowers and fruits later in the season. It's a five minute job but well worth doing to keep the tomatoes growing well for the season. Hopefully the images make it clear what to do and how the tomato plant will look afterwards, image right.
Fruits are also forming on the strawberries and the birds will be eyeing them up as soon as the fruits start to ripen. The only way is to protect is with netting and for hints on an easy way to protect strawberry fruit and make a simple fruit cage, check out how to grow strawberries.