Grow your own Tomatoes
Tomatoes are one of the most versatile crops in the vegetable garden. They are used in salads, stews, curries, pastas and sandwiches, to name just a few culinary staples. They are available in two main varieties, namely indeterminate (vine) tomatoes and determinate (bush) tomatoes.
- Indeterminate tomatoes have a rambling growth habit and will have to be supported by trellises. They offer a very high yield.
- Determinate tomatoes do not need to be staked and they are usually more disease-resistant, however, they have a limited harvest period, so you’ll need to sow successive batches for a supply that lasts all summer.
Step-by-step guide to growing your own tomatoes
- Tomatoes grow best in a sunny area of the garden in fertile soil. Enrich the soil with plenty of compost and 2:3:4 fertiliser before planting.
- Tomato seeds can be sowed directly into the garden or into outdoor pots, if you only require a few plants. Try creating a few mounds of soil and sowing the seeds under a layer of soil on top of the mounds. This improves the drainage of the soil and also allows oxygen to reach the developing roots more easily.
- Keep the soil well watered until the seeds have germinated. Once the seedlings appear, give them a good soaking once a week. Take care not to wet the leaves as this may lead to fungal infections.
- When the plants start to produce fruits feed them with a liquid fertiliser that is high in potassium.
- Allow the fruits to ripen on the plants before picking them. This will allow the internal starches to turn to sugar, which leads to a sweeter, tastier tomato.
Did you know? Good companion plants for tomatoes are basil, parsley and dill.
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