Neil Robertson is one of our lead allotment tester. By day – Farplants Marketing Manager, come the evening – a Grow Your Own aficionado. Here are his top tips for growing tomatoes:
More people grow Tomatoes in the UK than any other vegetable or fruit. Now whilst shop brought Tomatoes have improved a lot over the years, nothing beats freshly picked home grow Toms. They’re not difficult to grow either, especially if you have a greenhouse.
Where to plant Tomatoes
Planting in growbags is a reliable way of getting good crops. This is because the compost is new, so no pest or disease carry-over and the fertiliser is tailored for Tomatoes. That said, you will need to be on the ball with watering – often twice daily when the plants are mature.
I choose to grow them in a border because it means less worry over watering. But I do replace most of the soil each spring and top the bed off with the contents of a new growbag.
Plant Tomatoes 30cm (1ft) apart and give them a little slow release fertiliser to get them off to a flying start. Pinch out all side shoots regularly so that you just have 1 strong main stem that can be twisted up a string for support. When the first flowers open, it helps if you can spray the flowers with water at midday to help them set fruit otherwise they can suffer from ‘dry set’. But don’t worry because subsequent flower trusses always seem to set fruit easily.
Once you see small fruits forming you can start liquid feeding twice a week with Tomorite. This high potash fertiliser will help to maximise your crop. Watering should always be evenly done each day (best in the evening) to avoid fruit splitting.
Watch this space for more tips from the Farplants Allotment.