No summer salad is complete without a juicy home-grown tomato picked fresh from the vine. These health-promoting fruits are relatively easy to grow if you get your planting time right and feed correctly. Expect to pick your first ripe fruits from the end of July through until October.
Soil and position
A rich soil improved with organic matter and some fertiliser such as Miracle-Gro Gro Your Own Vegetable & Fruit Plant Food is ideal, especially if it is a warm sunny spot in front of a south-facing wall or fence.
Alternatively you can grow tomatoes in a Miracle-Gro Gro Your Own Vegetable & Fruit Giant Planter or Levington Tomorite Giant Planter with Seaweed positioned on a sunny patio or balcony. Gardeners get great results from a Levington Tomorite Giant Planter because the compost is carefully blended and enriched with nutrients to encourage strong early growth ready for maximum cropping.
Seed and plant varieties
You can grow your own plants from seed by sowing indoors in trays of Miracle-Gro Gro Your Own Seed & Cutting Compost. Sow the seed in April and you will have seedling plants ready for planting outside at the end of May or beginning of June. Alternatively wait until May and buy ready grown seedling plants from your local garden centre.
There are three different types of tomatoes to choose from. ‘Cordon’ varieties are grown as a single stem that needs support and the side shoots regularly removed. ‘Bush’ varieties need no training, support or stopping. ‘Trailing’ types don’t need support or training and are good for tumbling from patio pots and hanging baskets.
Cordon varieties include: ‘Gardeners Delight’ (small), ‘Sungold’ (small), ‘Cherry Belle’ (small), ‘Alicante’ (medium), ‘Ailsa Craig’ (medium) and ‘Dombito’ (large).
Bush varities include: ‘Glacier’ (medium), ‘Roma’ (plum) and ‘Marmande’ (large).
Trailing varieties include: ‘Garden Pearl’ (small), ‘Tumbling Tom Red’ (small) and ‘Tumbling Tom Yellow’ (small).
Sowing seeds and buying plants
Sow seeds in individual cells of Miracle-Gro Gro Your Own Seed & Cutting Compost in early April. Plant up tiny seedlings when two true leaves are showing, one plant to a 5cm pot of Miracle-Gro Gro Your Own Vegetable & Fruit Enriched Compost. Alternatively, buy ready-grown plants from your local garden centre at the end of May.
Plant out all plants early in June or end of May if night temperatures are warm. Plant into garden soil 60cm apart or 3 to each Giant Planter as soon as frosts have finished. Tumbling varieties do well in patio pots or hanging baskets filled with Miracle-Gro Mositure Control Pots & Baskets Enriched Compost.
Cordons: Stake each cordon plant and tie the tomato stem loosely to the stake at 30cm (12in) intervals. Pinch out side shoots that develop where leaves join the main stem. After 4 or 5 trusses have formed, remove the growing tip of the main stem, so the plant concentrates all its energy on developing the fruits to ripeness.
Trailing: When grown in containers regular watering is the key to success. Try to keep the compost moist but not soaking wet.
All types: Start feeding all plants with Levington Tomorite Liquid Concentrate after the first truss has set fruit and repeat at 14 day intervals. This plant food contains balanced nutrients, magnesium and seaweed extract to ensure good colour and full taste. Whitefly are the most serious pest problem. If your plants are attacked spray them with BugClear Ultra Gun! or BugClear Gun! for Fruit & Veg every 10 days.