How To Grow Tomatoes

Tomatoes are surprisingly easy to grow and produce masses of fruit. Two plants will provide you with more tomatoes than you know what to do with. Or at least that was the case with me last summer. 

Although delicate when young, in a good summer they can still do really well outside once they are established. I got rather excited last year and quickly ran out of space as our garden was still only half built at the time. This meant I had to put a tomato plant in a raised bed meant for flowers but it loved it. Quickly squashing any doubts I had about growing tomatoes outside. 

Climbing Tendrils

Quick Guide

Annual

Hardiness
Delicate When Young
Sunshine
Full Sun
Watering
Water Well

Plants will need support from trellis or wire depending on type

varieties

Tomatoes come in all different shapes and sizes. From tiny cherry tomatoes perfect to eat in one bite to larger ones brilliant for sandwiches and burgers. But there is two main types of plant; cordon (indeterminate) tomatoes grow tall and need a trellis or stake for support and pruning to keep them under control. Secondly bush (determinate) tomatoes which as the name suggests grow into a bush shape and don’t need support or much pruning.

Sweet Million

This bush type tomato is perfect for smaller gardens as it can be grown in a pot! The small red fruits are delicious and the plant will produce tonnes of them.

Ferline

The large fruits of this plant are perfect for that summer BBQ. The long stems of the plant will need support but they can be grown in pots as well.

Tumbler

The trailing stems of this tomato make it the perfect candidate for hanging baskets which are an eye catching display in your garden and take up zero ground space!

Roma

The oblong shape of these tomatoes makes them an interesting addition to any salad. Easy to grow and great for cooking into sauces they are a personal favourite.

soil

Good nutrient filled soil is vital for tomatoes. You can buy mix specifically designed for them or make your own using well rotted compost and fine soil. They are also partial to a bit of calcium so adding ground up eggshells (free range of course) or calcium powder can help if the leaves are a little yellow. 

They will grow well in pots and hanging baskets depending on variety and with enough nutrients and water. 

Tomatoes Orange

Timing

Varieties will dictate the exact timings of your tomatoes but the following general guidelines are a good starting point.

  • Sow indoors Feb-March
  • Sow outdoors March-April but be weary of late frosts
  • Water and feed well and tomatoes should start to appear around June-July

planting

  • Tomatoes like as much sun as possible
  • Well rotted manure for soil texture and nutrients
  • Sow your seeds in small pots and keep them inside or in a green house utill they gave a set of true leaves then pot up or plant outside
  • If growing in containers use one per plant and good quality potting mix

companion planting

Tomatoes are a good companion plant. Their tall growth makes it easy to squeeze other plants around the base which act as a living mulch like lettuce. You can also plant classic herbs like borage and rosemary or garlic to help with pest control. Tomatoes are hungry plants and incorporating beans or legumes as companion plants will help fix nitrogen and work on improving the soil quality. 

Potatoes are a plant that will cause problems for your tomatoes. They are both large hungry plants and will compete with each other reducing the yield on both if grown too close. They are also susceptible to the same diseases as are peppers and aubergine so try and keep all of these separate and avoid planting in spots you’ve recently grown them in. Members of the cabbage family will also compete with your tomatoes so are best avoided. 

care

  • Water well throughout the growing period and feed once a week with a good fertiliser. Try and keep to a schedual with watering as variations in water level can cause your fruits to split.
  • If you have started your tomatoes inside, harden them off for a week by placing them outside during the day before planting up.
  • If you have a bush (determinate) variety then very little pruning or support is needed.
  • Cordon (indeterminate) varieties require the main stem of plant plant to be staked up or tied to a trellis. The side shoots are allowed to grow to about an inch long before being removed to make sure the energy is put into the fruit.

harvest

Tomatoes are easy to harvest. Once fruit is ripe gently twist and pull them from the plant. If you have any unripe fruits by the end of the season still pick them and try storing them near a banana which can help speed up the ripening process. 

Storing

Once harvested tomatoes will last a few days in the fridge. You can also freeze them or can them. Or cook them into all those lovely Italian sauces and then freeze which is my favourite method.

tomato-plant

If you follow the steps and tips above you should have shed-loads of shiny tomatoes by the end of summer.

If you want to learn more about tomatoes and try some recipes check out the articles below

We hope that you’ve enjoyed our article and that it has inspired you to turn your green hands to a new challenge.

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