Grow your own Tomatoes

5th November 2008

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.