Tomatoes

Growing from tomato seed is the most cost-effective way to achieve tasty homegrown toms. Given good conditions for germination, we are confident that you will be delighted with the results, and to help you achieve this we have put together some hints and tips below.

Step 1

Sowing Seeds

Sow your tomato seeds into trays of good quality compost. You can sow more than one variety per tray – just make sure you label them!

Step 2

Germination

Place the tray ion a sunny windowsill or in a propagator (at around 18-21degrees). Remove the lid once the plants have germinated to help prevent the plants ‘damping off’.

These are really rather special, and perfect for use on the kitchen windowsill

Step 3

Pricking Out & Potting On

When the plants are large enough to handle and have started to provide true leaves (leaves formed after the first pair), it’s time to prick them out and put them in their own individual pots.

Top tip: watering the seedlings first will make it easier to pry them apart. Holding plants by a leaf will prevent your fingers damaging the stems.

standard-size cups in a supermarket mushroom tray

Step 4

Train Up Canes

Train cordon varieties up canes, frames or string and pinch out side shoots as they grown. Bush and basket varieties don’t need training or pinching out and can be left to grow. Learn more about tomato terminology – including bush and cordon varieties, in our earlier blog.

Water your plants often and apply a tomato feed.

canes

Step 5

Harvest!

Fruit is usually ready to pick when it is fully red in colour. Allowing tomatoes to ripen on the vine will produce more depth of flavour – with the exception of cherry tomatoes which are best picked just before they are fully ripe as otherwise they tend to crack.

Tomatoes are best stored at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Some people swear by keeping them in a paper bag, others just pop them in a bowl – the key is to keep them cool (but not fridge cool). Home-grown tomatoes will keep for about 5 days after picking.

Top Tip

Don’t cut fruit from the plant as this can encourage disease. You’ll notice that there’s an ‘elbow’ joint just above each fruit – if you hold the fruit and push the ‘elbow’ with your fingers, the fruit and its stem will come away in your hand. Easy!

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