How to Start Growing Tomatoes

How to Start Growing Tomatoes

If you are considering growing your own tomatoes next year, now is the perfect time to start considering your options and prepping. Growing your own fresh vegetables is an incredible benefit, but there are a few things you should consider.

Which tomato type?
You will need to decide if you want the, Cordon (or indeterminate) version, which grows tall and requires support, or the Bush (determinate) type, which is bushier and does not require staking.

When to sow?
For outdoor growing, sow the seeds indoors from late March to early April. For growing in a greenhouse, you can sow earlier, from late February to mid-March.

How to start?
You can use a propagator or plastic bag over the young seedlings, if kept in a window sill to ensure they are kept around 18°C. Then you can transfer to small pots when two true leaves have formed.

When to replant/repot?
When the flowers of the first trusses (branches) are starting to open, you can then transplant plants into 9in pots, growing bags or plant them outside, 45-60cm apart. Plants must be hardened off (slowly acclimated to the outdoors for 7-10 days), before planting them outside.

When to prune?
Do not forget to stake Cordon tomatoes and you must remove the side shoots regularly when they reach 2.5cm long. Bush tomatoes do not need support or side shoot removal.

How much to water?
Water regularly, keeping soil evenly moist, as fluctuating moisture can cause fruit to split.

When to fertilise?
Feed every 10-14 days with a balanced liquid fertiliser.