Gardens

How to grow tomatoes - the best ways to grow your own tomato plants

Now is a great time to start ordering your seeds in time for the tomato growing season.

Now is a great time to start ordering your seeds in time for the tomato growing season. If you’re wondering how to grow tomatoes, look no further as we share tips from the expert growers.

Jill Vaughan of Defland Nurseries Ltd is a member of the British Tomato Growers’ Association and has shared some simple guidelines for how to grow tomatoes.

ARE TOMATOES EASY TO GROW?

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It depends on what variety you go for. We recommend cherry varieties for beginners as large varieties like plum and beefsteak are trickier.

Look for varieties that have been awarded The RHS Award for Garden Merit when deciding which tomatoes to grow.

DO TOMATOES GROW WELL IN POTS?

Tomatoes are excellent in containers as long as you place them in a spot that gets plenty of sun. Keep them in a conservatory or on a sunny window until they are ready to plant outside.

If growing in pots you will need to liquid feed about once every 1-2 weeks.

Grow tumbling varieties in hanging baskets, these are perfect for balconies and patios. Taller varieties will need to be staked to keep them supported.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO PLANT TOMATOES?

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If you’re owing from seeds you can sow indoors an time from march to the end of may. They should be ready to plant outside by the end of May.

We recommend that you always sow about 25% more seeds than you want plants, to allow for some losses and so you can select the strongest seedlings. You will need some clean seed trays at least 3cm deep or suitable food packaging with holes for drainage. Fill them with good quality seed compost and make sure the surface is level and firm.

Sow the seeds about 3cm apart and cover with about 4mm of compost and water them using a watering can with a fine rose. Cover with clear plastic or a sheet of glass and put them somewhere warm to germinate: 20° to 25°C is ideal.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD TOMATOES BE WATERED?

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(Image credit: TI Media/Amateur Gardening)

Water the plants in well to settle the soil around the roots. Thereafter you need to adjust the watering according to the size of the plants and the weather.

Giving plants a thorough watering rather than frequent light sprinklings will encourage deep rooting in the early stages, but once the fruits begin to ripen you want to maintain an even moisture as erratic watering can cause fruit to split.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BUYING BRITISH?

The British Tomato Growers Association recommend buying British. Unlike other tomatoes, British varieties differ in the sense that British tomato growers use a natural means of pest and disease control.

As British growers supply the ‘local market’, this means the tomatoes stay on the plant for longer and are as fresh as they could possibly be.