Home grown tomatoes can't be beaten, and now is the time to think about putting in some plants. There are many varieties available - choose the type 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 allrounders.
- Beefsteak tomatoes are big, tend to be meatier and are great for stuffing - varieties include 'big boy' and 'super marmande'.
- Plum tomaotes are smaller and oval in shape. They tend to be fleshier than cherry tomatoes.
Grafted tomatoes are a new idea. Plants will be larger when purchased and should be stronger and give a heavier crop of tomatoes. Give them a try!
Tomatoes can be grown in tubs, in the ground or in hanging baskets. Make sure you use a good quality compost when potting in the ground. Tomatoes grow well in growbags - put no more than three plants per growbag and there will be enough goodness in the growbag for a season. Upside down planters are a novelty way of growing and also work well.
Tomato growpots are an excellent way of giving tomatoes the nutrients they need - plant the tomato in the centre of the growpot - water in the outer ring. When fertilising feed into the centre of the growpot.
Plants will need supporting - tie up with canes and loosely attach with string. Tomatoes grow best under cover, but can also be grown outdoors. Keep regularly watered and feed with tomato food every fortnight. A growtube watering system is another way of keeping growbags watered.
Side shoots should be removed to encourage fruit growth. Once the plant has seven trusses (or it hits the greenhouse roof!) then chop off the growing tip of the plant. This will encourage fruit development. If your plant is outside, then take off this tip when four trusses have set.
Tomatoes require little other work to keep them healthy. Planting Tagetes or Marigolds around the plants is a great organic way to discourage greenfly and other bugs. With regular feed and water, you will have a bumper crop of tasty tomatoes in no time at all!