known as the "apple of love" tomatoes
have always been a popular crop for the amateur and professional
Sowing to harvesting time
- 12 - 15 weeks depending on variety.
Once regarded almost solely as a greenhouse crop, with the
development of new, hardier varieties you can now grow some
varieties outdoors. However it is important to remember that the
crop is native to a fairly hot dry climate.
High summer temperatures
suit them perfectly, but since that weather cannot be expected every
year in a temperate climate, some care must be taken to
produce a good crop. They do not like damp, cloudy, cool conditions
and they hate frost.
gardeners save growing time by starting tomato plants under glass,
in a cold frame or on the windowsill ensuring frost free conditions.
There is no doubt that the best way to grow toms is in a
will grow in any reasonably rich soil, or any poor soil providing
the basic nutrients are added during the growing period. Growing
soil should be replaced after every crop to prevent disease. Purpose
made grow bags are ideal.
tomato seeds & plants
Sow seeds in a propagator
or seed tray from late winter to early spring. Space the seeds
When the seedlings
are large enough to handle, prick them off into 8cm+ pots
filled with compost.
When the plants are
12-15cm high, transplant them to permanent beds and tie to
If growing single
stem varieties, remove axil shoots with a clean knife to
control the plants growth.
Feed with liquid
tomato feed as soon as the fruit begins to swell and repeat
every two weeks until harvesting.
If growing bush
varieties, put dry straw on the ground under each plant to
protect from damp soil and slugs.
greenhouses Ideal for growing tomatoes
roll-up door with two zips for easy access, a strong
tubular framework, ground anchoring pegs and reinforced
UV-resistant cover. Ideal for growing tomatoes,
Strong tubular framework. Heavy duty construction.
Ground anchoring pegs included. Reinforced UV resistant
Greenhouse tomatoes may need help with pollination. The pollen needs
exactly the right atmospheric humidity to adhere to the female parts of
the flowers and to grow down towards the ovule. The remedy is to spray the
plants and surroundings in the early morning.
As soon as the flower trusses start to form the plant will
begin to produce shoots in the joints between the stem and the leaf. By
nature the tomato is a bushy plant, but allowing these shoots to grow will
result in a mass of bushy foliage and small fruits. Remove sideshoots by
"pinching out" using your thumb and forefinger.
every two days towards the end of the season. When the plant is bearing
six or seven trusses of fruit break off the growing tip cleanly just above
the second leaf above the top truss. The plant can then concentrate all of
its resources into growing fruit.
the lower leaves of the plant will encourage it to channel its resources
into fruit production and improve ventilation close to the soil.
Tomatoes need plenty of moisture but not a saturated soil. Twice daily
watering is a must in hot weather. Greenhouse grown crops will benefit
from a good misting by spraying the whole greenhouse including floor,
The bottom trusses ripen first, pick the tomatoes before they are quite
ripe. Sever the stalk at the "knuckle" just above the calyx.
They can complete their ripening on a windowsill within a few days.
Removing the crop before it's ripe helps the plant to concentrate on the
next lot of fruit.
were first cultivated in Peru and Ecuador and the first extensive
plantings were made in Mexico. Columbus brought both seeds and
plants to Europe in 1498, they were grown for medicinal purposes and
dating between 1597 and 1629 describe tomatoes as "apples of
love" or "poma amoris". The name love apple was
derived from the literal translation of the French name pomme d'
amour, the fruit was believed to be a good aphrodisiac.
good way to ripen off green tomatoes at the end of the season is to
place a mature, aromatic banana or apple into a polythene bag with
the tomatoes. Ethylene gas produced by the banana or apple will
quickly turn your toms red.
plants account for one fifth of all vegetable plants purchased. They
are so popular that they are grown in three-quarters of all domestic
greenhouses in this country.