How to grow tomatoes
Are you thinking of growing your own tomatoes this year? Our garden products maker Debs White, who has got very greenfingers and is an expert in this area, gives her top tips:
“Tomatoes require lots of sunlight to grow successfully. Positioning them in a sunny greenhouse, warm windowsill or well sheltered spot outside should ensure they thrive.
“They can be grown from seed, but it can be easier to buy ready grown plants. Where possible I always like to try and buy from independent local nurseries.
“When planting a ready grown plant dig a hole slightly deeper than the pot and ease the plant out taking care not to damage the root ball. Once in the soil remove the bottom leaves and firm the compost or soil up to the new lower leaves.
“If you are planting more than one tomato plant, make sure you plant them 22 centimetres apart as this should give them enough growing room.
“To ensure you have a successful crop it is important to water the plant regularly especially during warmer weather.
“Once the plant reaches 20cm-30cm in height loosely tie the stem to a cane and continue tying at 15cm intervals when necessary.
“As the plant grows pinch out any side shoots between the stem and main branches, this should help it produce more fruit. Remove the bottom leaves regularly because they are the most likely to develop fungal problems.
“When six or seven clusters of flowers appear, break off the growing tip of the plant as too many flowers will result in more fruit, but of a lower quality.
“Once the fruits are the size of peas feed weekly with a liquid tomato feed, I recommend my Old Mucker Triple T tomato tonic.
“When the tomatoes are ripe pick immediately as this will encourage more to grow.”