Learn how to grow tomatoes and enjoy fresh sweet tomatoes grown in your own garden. Growing tomatoes is simple with our easy to follow guide.
Vegetable Gardening Tips and Advice
There are very few people that do not like the taste of tomatoes direct from the garden. One of the other advantages of growing tomatoes is that they can be grown in containers to fill bare spots in the garden, they can be sown directly into the soil and sown in a greenhouse. Lets not forget the wonderful colour that they add, ranging from their best known red, to yellow,orange and even purple.
Tomatoes can be grown in a cordon shape or a bush shape. Bush shape tomatoes are easier to grow in the sense that they do not need supports and can be grown in containers or baskets.
Cordon tomatoes need support and can be grown along trellis or wig wam style supports. From cherry tomatoes to beefsteak tomatoes it will be almost impossible to eat supermarket versions once you have eaten your very own tomatoes from your very own vegetable garden.
How to grow tomatoes, choosing the soil and site
Sowing tomatoes from seed could not be easier, but if you want to get off to a quick start you can buy small plants from most garden centers. Sow tomato seed indoors in mid spring, scatter your seeds thinly into 5 inch pot and cover with a ½ inch layer of compost and then put a layer of compost and then a layer of cling film on top to help retain moisture.
Leave in a warm place, such as an airing cupboard, and watch for the seeds to germinate. Once the seedlings have emerged move the pot into the light. When they are large enough to handle transplant the young tomato plants out into individual 3 inch pots.
How to grow tomatoes, transplanting the seedlings
Tomato seedlings must be carefully hardened off before planting out in late spring or early summer, once all danger of frost has passed. If planting Tomatoes direct into the ground, plant cordons 16 inches apart, and bush cultivars 20 inches apart. Provide support for cordons, either up a single cane, or up a trellis or wigwam. Bush cultivars can be left to their own devices.
Growing tomatoes, the aftercare routine
Bush tomatoes do not need much attention, but cordons are more labour intensive,. The side shoots on cordons should be nipped out regularly as they grow to encourage upward growth. Use twine to tie in cordons to their stake as they grow. In midsummer when the cordon has reached its required height, pinch out the growing tip at the t of the plant to stop more flowers forming.
All tomato plants must be watered regularly. Those Tomato plants planted in open ground should not need feeding as long as the soil has been enriched with manure or compost., but those in pots or grow bags will reap rewards from a high potash liquid feed, such as comfrey or nettle tea, every week or so. The tomatoes can be harvested in mid to late summer. Leave them on the vine to ripen for the best flavour.
Pests and Diseases When Growing Tomatoes
Aphids and whitefly can attack tomato leaves, especially if you are growing Tomatoes in the green house. Spraying with insecticidal soap will often help. Stem rot is another problem caused by spores in the soil, and this usually occurs when the ground is cold and wet. At ground level, the stem starts to rot, turning brown and sunken, eventually causing the entire Tomato plant to wilt. Get rid of affected plants.
Blight can also affect tomatoes. Most likely to occur in cool, damp summers, the disease is caused by the spores of the fungus Phytophthora infestans and can spread quickly, rotting foliage and destroying whole plants. The first signs are unattractive blotches on foliage and fruit and a lot of creamy white spores on the undersides of the leaves, which spread down into the soil.
Plants need adequate space to help prevent the spread of blight. If your Tomato plants are affected, remove and destroy all of the affected plants.
Blossom end rot is caused by lack of calcium and is particularly prevalent when there is a lack of water when the fruit first starts to appear. It appears as an ugly sunken dark patch on the fruit. There is no cure, but sufficiently watering your Tomatoe plants will help to prevent it
How to grow tomatoes, which cultivars to grow
How To Grow Tomatoes Indoors
Gardeners Delight is a cordon tomato with juicy cherry sized sweet and juicy fruit, this variety of also be grown outdoors and Shirley is a cordon tomato which is very reliable and heavy cropping
Growing Tomatoes outdoors
Golden Sunrise a cordon type with bright yellow, medium sized fruits, Red Alert is a bush cherry tomato, with heavy cropping and good flavour. Tigerella the attractive red fruits are striped with tiger like stripes, when ripe.
Growing cordon tomatoesFor something a little different try beefsteak tomato known as Black Russian which has purple red skin, this skin darkens as the large, slightly irregular shaped tomato fruit ripens.
Return to vegetable garden tips