Tomatoes are most likely the most thought of harvest for the keen garden grower. Previously thought of as only a greenhouse grown crop, they’re now being successfully grown outside and in conservatories with superior results. It’s quite possible you will find the best results at a correctly prepared and heated saltwater, however with the introduction of much hardier species over the years there’s not any reason why anyone can’t grow enough to feed themselves and their loved ones throughout the harvesting season by following a couple of straightforward rules.
F1 Hybrid varieties
My personal favorite is the Cherry tomato or (Cherry Belle). These, as you might expect are a much smaller variety but create very heavy crops with a taste that I think is far superior to all the other types. Additionally it is a good one to start with as it’s also very resistant to a number of the ailments that trouble some types.
Another fantastic crop that’s resistant to leaf mould and greenback, it may also put up with the strange chilly night in the greenhouse if you neglect to put on the heater! Another heavy cropper.
Like the cherry tomato in size, this is grown in hanging baskets or outside pots.
Medium sized berries that have a superb flavor and will create early fruits. These are ready to be grown outdoors or under glass.
A extremely common tomato, again giving medium sized fruits. This will offer a very heavy crop, but the drawback is the rather bland flavor.
Very much like the Moneymaker, even though it has exceptional resistance to leaf mould and produces its crop early.
Another variety that’s able to grow outside in addition to under glass. Like the moneymaker, resistant to greenback and a heavy cropper that produces its crop early.
- Yellow perfection: Bright yellow fruits which perform well outdoors and under glass. Another heavy cropper with an exceptional sweet flavor.
There obviously other kinds we can cover, but there ought to be something from the listing above that you try!
Tomatoes can be sown into little 3-4″ peat post which are full of general purpose seed compost and are widely available at garden centers. The seeds require a germination temperature of approximately 60-65°F. This fever, if possible ought to be kept stable during the life span of the plant rather than be permitted to fall below 50°F if at all possible.
Sowing & transplanting
Cover the seeds with approximately 1/4″ (6mm) fine compost and keep the soil moist but not wet. In around 7-14 days you should see the shoots appear. If you’ve put several seeds into every pot, you’ll have the ability to eliminate the weaker seedlings and leave the powerful ones. When they hit 5″-8″ high you’ll then have to transplant them into growbags, big pots (usually about 9″ diameter), or into a garden boundary. Personally, I have never tried them at a boundary and always plant them into pots in the greenhouse. For those who have any suggestions let me know!
If you have used peat pots, I advise you to carefully remove the bottom layer of the peat pot (taking care not to damage the fine roots) before you plant outside. This is because I have discovered lately when removing the plant at the end of the season, the base of the peat pot has stayed intact, and prevented the origin from growing as it should.
The main stem of the plant ought to be supported by a cane or trained around a piece of string that runs in the surface of the pot, up to around 7 feet. If you use the cane method, make sure not to tie too tightly as the stem will swell as it develops and will be cut from the tie.
Water regularly to be sure the soil is kept moist but not overly wet. Mornings are usually a great time to do this but you might have to water more than once per day in warm weather. During warm periods in the greenhouse you’ll have to execute “Damping down”, this will require you to spray on the plants, glass and floor on a daily basis. Mist the plants and sometimes tap them gently during the morning to help pollination.
Once the plant reaches around 4 feet high, remove the leaves (now yellow) in the base of the plant using a sharp knife. The plant will also begin to produce side shoots between the stem and foliage combined, these can be pinched or cut out when they’re no more than 1″ long. These shoots have to be eliminated as the will drain off the resources required to feed the present plant.
When the plant reaches the surface of the greenhouse (approximately 7 feet ) cut out the top of the plant at three leaves following the final truss, this will guarantee the rest of the fruits will set. As the fruits start to swell, feed with a tomato fertilizer. As each manufacturer differs, follow the directions on the bottle. I use tomato feed on alternate days.
Picking or harvesting
The bottom trusses will ripen first so decide on these when they’re nearly ripe (orange-red). This is accomplished by breaking off the tomato in its knuckle (just above the calyx).
By choosing tomatoes just before they’re ripe, you will allow the plant to concentrate its efforts on the rest of the fruits. Picked tomatoes that aren’t quite ripe are best placed on a window sill and will be ready within only a couple days.