Growing TomatoesGrowing Tomatoes

Tomatoes fresh from the vine are hard to beat, but with the many problems with growing tomatoes, including the dreaded blight are they worth the hassle on the allotment?

Growing Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of my favourites, they are so versatile, you can eat them raw, in salads or in cooking in over a million ways!  They are also so good for you too!

Benefits of the Tomato

Tomatoes have show in recent studies carried out in Britain that the lycopene, the carotenoid pigment that turns tomatoes red may help reduce the risk of cancer.  Tomatoes are also a good source of vitamins C & E, while containing few calories.

Drawback

 So are they worth the effort?

My opinion is yes, but careful monitoring and spraying before the blight hits is required to get a crop, because once blight hits your plants it is pretty much game over and these should be removed immediately to save other plants from getting the disease.  Growing early varieties that crop in June & Early July before late blight hits is also a great idea, I grow a mix of early varieties and a few later cropping varieties to hedge my bets!

loading...
  Sowing
  Growing
  Harvesting
  Problems
  Varieties
How to Sow Tomatoes

Tomato SeedlingsTomato Seedlings

When to Sow Tomatoes

  • Sow Indoors: February to April
  • Plant Out: May to June

How to Sow Tomatoes

  • Tomatoes need heat to germinate, so sowing in doors or in a warm green house is really the only option.
  • Sow between February and April and plant out when warm enough in May / June
  • Sowing depth 2cm
  • Spacings: Vine type: 38-45cm (15-18in)
  • Row Spacings: 90cm (36in)

 

How to Grow Tomatoes

Tomato PlantsTomato Plants

Where to Grow Tomatoes

Tomatoes need a very sunny spot with rich and fertile soil that has either been well manured or had compost dug into it.  Chicken manure pellets are also a very welcome addition to the soil along with Growmore as these are greedy plants!  Plants are ready to plant out when the soil is warm, frost chances are zero and the first flowers appear on the plants.

Tips for Growing Tomatoes

Outdoor tomatoes are ready for planting out when they have been hardened off and the first flowers are appearing.  If there is a chance of late frosts hold off until you are sure there is zero chance.  Always a good idea to cover the plants over night till they are well established.  To avoid many problems tomatoes like no other crop must be watered and fed constantly otherwise you will get blossom end rot, splitting of their skins and weak plants more susceptible to diseases like blight.

Tomato SuckerTomato Sucker Removal

Vine tomatoes will need support, and their side shoots and suckers pinching out and once 4 or 5 trusses have formed pinch out the tips to aid fruit growth.  Most important when watering don't allow the stems or foliage of the plant to be splashed with water, as this will increase risk of blight

 

Harvesting Tomatoes

Harvesting TomatoesHarvesting Tomatoes

When to Harvest Tomatoes

  • Depending on the variety but the fruits are ready to harvest from July onwards right up untill just before the first frosts of November

Tips for Harvesting

  • Pick when the tomatoes colour is even all over. Looks count! Tomatoes ripen from the inside out. If a tomato looks ripe on the outside, it will be ripe on the inside.
  • When they are just a tiny bit soft when squeezed. Some gardeners say “in between firm and soft.”
  • If green you can ripen them indoors next to a banna in a draw.
  • Once tomatoes start ripening, check plants each day and pick those that are ready. Overripe tomatoes will fall or be knocked off stems. They rot quickly. You can easily lose a big portion of your crop if you don’t monitor your patch and keep harvesting tomatoes!
  • Some Heirloom varieties ripen before they completely turn color. Pick heirloom tomatoes before they look totally ripe.
  • Cherry tomatoes crack if left on the vine too long. Pick them just before they look like they’re perfectly ripe.

 

Tomato Varieties

 

Tomato Varieties to try

  • Ailsa Craig Tomato
    • A tried and tested variety renowned for its flavour. Greenback type giving good crops of medium size fruit.
  • Alicante Tomato
    • Best described as an improved Moneymaker type. Heavy crops of uniform smooth, medium size fruits of good flavour maturing quite early.
  • Amateur Tomato
    • One of the most popular bush varieties. Medium small fruit size of bright red with good flavour. Reliable and dependable.
  • Apricot Dream Tomato
    • Amazing taste, very sweet. Bright orange blocky fruit with a fantastic texture.
  • Beefmaster F1 Tomato
    • Extra large tomatoes up to 500gm (1lb) each ideal for slicing or stuffing. Good colour and excellent flavour.
  • Black Russian Tomato
    • Dark, deep red to shiny black fruit with heavy green shoulders. The flesh is deep reddish-green and is sweet and tasty. Early maturing indeterminate vine type for indoor production.
  • Britain's Breakfast Tomato
    • Lemon shaped red fruit that does not split when ripe. Indeterminate type that produces very large spreading trusses with sometimes over 60 fruit. Greenhouse or outdoor.
  • Chadwick Tomato
    • Vigorous growing plant that has strong disease-resistance. Large, cherry-type fruit of good sharp flavour.
  •  Cherrola F1 Tomato
    • A vigorous, high yielding, early indeterminate hybrid variety of cherry tomato, for growing inside or out. Moderate tolerance to potato blight.
  • Craigella Tomato
    • Selected out of Ailsa Craig, chosen for its fine flavour but a non-greenback type. Medium size fruit of beautiful red colour.
  • Fandango F1 Tomato
    • Vigorous, indeterminate plants that produce heavy crops of deep red fruits up to 150g (5oz) in weight with very good flavour. Blight tolerant and is resistant to fusarium and verticilium wilt.
  • Garden Pearl Tomato
    • Delicious, rosy-red, cherry-size fruits. Ideal to grow in hanging baskets. Ealry to crop and continues to crop all season. Fruit trusses tunble over basket sides.
  • Gardeners Delight Tomato
    • An old favourite with great flavour.
  • Golden Sunrise Tomato
    • The golden yellow fruits are considered by many to be the best flavoured tomatoes there are. Medium size, nice and fleshy.
  • Harbinger Tomato
    • Early and heavy cropping, giving good flavoured medium size fruits. Can be grown under unheated protection.
  • Lidi Tomato
    • Small sweet, yellow plum-shaped fruit. Produces heavy crop – 80 fruits per truss, 3-4 trusses per plant. Also Ideal for containers. Replaces Yellow cocktail.
  • Lizzano F1 Tomato
    • Bright red, baby cherry sized. Vigorous, trailing, semi-determinate type with abundant amount of fruits.  Blight tolerant.