Grow Your Own
The flavour of homegrown tomatoes straight from the vine just can't be beaten. Tomatoes are easy to grow and produce a high yield, just a couple of plants will provide you with a delicious crop throughout the Summer. Tomatoes can be grown in the ground, in containers and in grow bags.
Tomatoes come in a wide variety of flavours, shapes & sizes, there is a huge range to choose from, here are a few of our favourites;
'Moneymaker' - large cherry variety with reliably high yields, great for salad, roasting & grilling 'Alicante' a great all-rounder producing a good yield of medium-sized, sweet fruit ideal for sauces.
'Marmande' is a beefsteak tomato with a strong flavour and meaty texture and are perfect for slicing in salads or using in sauces.
'Incas' are an early plum tomato with bright red, thick flesh. They are great in sauces.
'Super Sweet 100' a very sweet cherry tomato with high yields, perfect for salads.
Be sure to check seed packets or plant labels to ensure you select the right variety for the space and conditions you have.
Growing from seed.
Sprinkle seeds thinly onto good quality, seed sowing compost. Cover with compost, lightly water and put in a warm place. Transplant seedlings into individual pots when they show more than two leaves.
Planting seedlings out.
Tomatoes are frost tender and therefore must not be planted out until the risk of frost has disappeared, usually mid-May at the earliest. Ensure your plant is between 6-8 inches tall before transplanting into the garden. Choose a sunny, sheltered position as this is key to the success of your plants. Whether you plant in the ground or choose to plant 2 or 3 plants in a grow bag. If plants remain in the greenhouse, ensure there is sufficient shade from excessive heat.
Watering and Feeding.
Water regularly keeping compost or soil moist, as plants mature they will need more water feed regularly with a good quality liquid tomato food, use a high potash feed once the first tomatoes start to form.
Growing top tips!
Training your vines will depend on the variety you have chosen. Cordon/Indeterminate varieties have a single stem, tie the plant to a support stick as it grows and pinch out any side shoots. Bush/Determinate varieties, sometimes known as 'bush' or 'dwarf' don't need training or pruning generally. Determinate plants may still need staking due to their weight when baring a mass of fruits.
Tomatoes are ripe when they are full coloured with no green left, pick individually and enjoy! If you end up with a plentiful harvest all ripe at once, see our recipe below for a tasty tomato treat!
Now, you have your fantastic tomato harvest, what shall we cook?!
- ½ small red onion, finely chopped
- 8 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped & drained
- 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 6-8 leaves of fresh basil, finely chopped
- 30ml balsamic vinegar
- 60-80ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 loaf crusty bread
1. In a large bowl mix the onions, tomatoes, garlic and basil, keep the tomatoes as chunky as you like.
2. Add the extra virgin olive oil & balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, again.
3. Cover and chill for at least an hour which will give the flavours time to blend together. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before your plan to serve it.
4. Slice your bread/baguette diagonally into thick slices and lightly toast on both sides.
5. Spoon your tomato mixture onto the warm toasted slices of bread and enjoy! You can add mozzarella pieces or feta if you like, delicious!