You can't beat home grown tomatoes. If you have room, now is the time to plant. There are many varieties, so the fun starts with choosing the variety you wish to grow -
- Cherry tomatoes such as 'sungold' or 'gardeners delight' are small and sweet.
- Salad tomatoes such as 'shirley', 'alicante' or 'moneymaker' are bigger and are good all rounders.
- Beefsteak tomatoes are bigger and tend to be meatier - 'big boy' and 'super marmande' are popular varieties.
- Plum tomatoes are smaller and oval, and tend to be fleshier than cherry tomatoes. Great for pasta sauce!
These are just a few of the popular varieties - there are also many other varieties including heritage varieties, and grafted stock that should grow stronger plants with heavier crops.
Grow in pots and tubs, in the ground or in hanging baskets. Use a good quality multi purpose compost when potting. Tomatoes will grow well in growbags - put no more than three plants per bag and there will be enough goodness for them for a season. Individual growbags are also available if you just want one plant. Upside down planters look good and work well too.
Tomato growpots are an excellent way of growing - plant in the centre of the ring, water in the outer ring and fertilise in the inner ring. This is the most effective way of growing.
Make sure you support your plant - tie loosely to canes. Tomatoes will grow best under cover, but can be grown outdoors, where they may require more protection from wind. Keep regularly watered and feed with tomato food such as tomorite forthnightly.
Side shoots should be removed from upright varieties to encourage fruit growth. Once your plant has seven trusses (or it hits the greenhouse roof!), then chop the growing tip off the plant. This will encourage fruit development. We recommend doing this after four trusses are set if growing outdoors.
A natural way to protect your tomatoes is to plant 'tagetes' or 'marigolds' around the base of the plant. The smell will deter greenfly and other bugs, while adding colour!
With regular feed and water you will have a bumper crop of tasty tomatoes in no time. Enjoy!