Tomatoes are one of the most useful and versatile vegetables to have in your garden. If you have been considering your hand at tomatoes, here are a few basics to growing them:
• Choose which type you prefer- Cordon (or indeterminate) which grow tall and require support and Bush (determinate) bushy and do not require staking.
• Sowing seeds- 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.
• 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 transfer to small pots (3.5in) when two true leaves have formed.
• When the flowers of the first truss (branch) are starting to open you can then transplant plants into 9in pots, growing bags or plant them 45-60cm apart outside. Plants must be hardened off (slowly acclimated to the outdoors for 7-10 days) before planning outside.
• 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.
• Water regularly, keeping soil evenly moist, as fluctuating moisture can cause fruit to split.
• Feed every 10-14 days with a balanced liquid fertiliser.