Are you growing tomatoes this year? I always grow a few (normally the bush varieties as I don’t have a greenhouse, and taller ones struggle with the winds coming off the sea) I have variable success though. Some years a bounty of tomatoes, other years not so good. I asked the Greenhavens community of gardeners for their top tomato growing tips! Thanks everybody for your contributions!
Lizzie “I used grow bags last year and had good crop. I bought starter tomato plants from a guy at Meridian market . Later on around June I bought a black cherry tomato plant in Morrisons and I grew it on my window sill indoors still have it. It produces fruit every so often . Growbags need a lot of watering ?“
Jon “It may seem obvious, but I will say it anyway. Don’t plant tomatoes in a growbag that has been squashed flat on the pallet it was shipped on. Plump it up like a pillow. Even better, empty the compost out into a pot at least ten inches across, and put one plant in that. Don’t let them dry out; you’d get blossom end rot. Don’t feed until little tomatoes appear. If growing cordons – that is, a single stem trained up a stick or cane – pinch out the tiny leaves that appear between mature leaves and the stem, or you will get a bush, which cordon varieties don’t like. (They sulk, and you don’t get much of a crop)
Simon “If you are growing from seed, now (March) is the time to get some growing on a windowsill or in a propagator. I’ve had mixed success with this. I think my downfall has been over-watering (lots of nice seedlings but then they are toppled). Other times, I’ve reared plants all the way through to fruiting. Growing from seed is obviously the most economical option, but you can get plants later on in the season (when it would too late in the season to start growing from seed). I consider myself more of a novice, so play safe with cherry tomato varieties. Digressing from tomatoes, I find cucumbers easy to grow and would recommend the prolific Bedfordshire Prize .
“Don’t sow too many seeds otherwise when you prick out and pot on you will run out of window sills, especially if you’re growing other stuff eg peppers chillies and brassicas.
Do plant a few varieties though as some toms are good for salads, others for cooking.
Blight resistant varieties are a good idea.
Water at the base of the plant.
Keep potting on and renewing compost until they go into their forever pots or the ground.
Water every day but don’t let roots sit in water
Feed at regular intervals
Pick ripening fruits and finish off on window sills so fruit keeps coming
Don’t compost plants. I burn mine. It prevents disease build up in your soil.
Cherry tomatoes can be choke hazards for small children”
Simon “At the end of the season, any green tomatoes can be put in a paper bag (or I have used an old shoe box) with a banana (essential), to ripen them off.”
Tara “..or make green chutney it is wellllllllllllllll good!”
Karen “I swear by using ring pots if growing in greenhouse/cold frame, as you can get the watering perfect. People generally think growing tomatoes is easy, but it is quite tricky and the hardest thing is the watering, it has to be spot on or the tomatoes split quickly – which iI learn to live with, lol! but these rings (an investment that so far have lasted me 18 years) really help.
You can get the pots them cheaper elsewhere. It’s the roots you water for first four weeks then you leave them alone and make sure the water goes into the compost and let the roots find it (even more so with pots and special tomato compost bags)”
Julia “I’ve just looked up splitting , I’ve heard of it, but wanted to check it was what I thought it was ! Found this, for outside grown tomatoes”
Marina “Yes a good dose of rain can cause splitting. Worth noting you can still eat them or use for sauces and chutney”
Julia “Oh yes, I make a lot of tomato sauce :)”
Judy “Start your seeds off under cover (a warm windowsill is fine). As they grow, put them in larger pots, and gradually get them used to being outside around May. Then keep them watered, and you can add tomato or multipurpose feed once a week. Don’t forget to save up your glass jars, in anticipation of all those lovely tomato sauces and chutneys once your tomato glut starts!”
There is a good beginners guide to planting here too
Editor note – well there you have it, top tips and questions from the gardening experts and enthusiasts in our network. If you have a question please do ask us! We would love to see how your growing projects are coming along. Please do share your photographs too. Children at home? We would love to find out what they enjoy growing (and eating!) too.