Fleuroselect Year of the Tomato 2016

03 March 2016 | Posted in Food by The Marshalls Family

Growing tomatoes at home is so rewarding; you can sow seeds or plant up young plug plants early in the year and get handfuls of harvests in the same year.

 TOM tumbling yellow

There are so many types as well in so many colours; from cherry tomatoes to plum tomatoes in shades of red, yellow, orange and even striped.

Whatever your level of expertise, you can enjoy a successful harvest throughout the summer. Here are the two tomato types to choose from, perfect for different levels of expertise.

Bush-tomatoes (great for those growing tomatoes for the first time).

Bush tomatoes like 'Montello' (pictured below) and 'Red Alert' produce lots of branching stems with lots of fruit growing from each branch. They tend to be low growing, perfect for cascading over hanging baskets or pots. Just harvest as the tomatoes ripen. No need to prune or remove leaves.

Sow indoors: February-May

Fill a 9cm (3 ½ in) pot or cell tray with seed compost – which is light and contains a small but balance level of nutrients in the soil.

Strike excess soil off with a board and lightly firm with the base of another pot or tray.

TOM MontelloSubmerge the seed tray into a shallow tray of water beneath so that the soil slowly absorbs the moisture from the bottom without disturbing the soil on top.

Place 1 seed per pot or module cell and lightly cover with 1cm (1/2 in) of vermiculite or sieved compost

Label and date the seeds. When seedlings are 10-15cm (4-6in) high plant on into a container or grow bag in the greenhouse or outdoors.

Cover the pots or tray with cling film or propagator lid and place in constant warmth of 18-21°C (65- 70oF).

Check the seeds twice daily as soon as the seeds have started to geminate and you can see small leaves remove the cling film and grow on in a light environment at a constant 18oC (60°F). Water when soil surface feels dry to touch.

When seedlings are 10-15cm (4-6in) plant on into a container or grow bag in the greenhouse or outdoors. Once planted, simply harvest the tomatoes as they ripen.

Cordon tomatoes (great for seasoned tomato growers)

TOM Gardeners DelightThese types of tomatoes like 'Alicante' and 'Gardener's Delight' (pictured right) ripen on short branching stems (trusses) that grow off one, tall central stem. These are usually indoor types and the main stem should be supported by string and canes as they grow through the summer.

Sowing

Fill a 9cm (3 ½ in) pot or cell tray with seed compost – which is light and contains a small but balance level of nutrients in the soil.

Strike excess soil off with a board and lightly firm with the base of another pot or tray.

Submerge the seed tray into a shallow tray of water beneath so that the soil slowly absorbs the moisture from the bottom without disturbing the soil on top.

Place 1 seed per pot or module cell and lightly cover with 1cm (1/2 in) of  vermiculite or sieved compost.

Label and date the seeds. When seedlings are 10-15cm (4-6in) high plant on into a container or grow bag in the greenhouse or outdoors.

Cover the pots or tray with cling film or propagator lid and place in constant warmth of 18-21°C (65- 70oF).

Check the seeds twice daily as soon as the seeds have started to geminate and you can see small leaves remove the cling film and grow on in a light environment at a constant 18oC (60°F). Water when soil surface feels dry to touch.

When seedlings are 10-15cm (4-6in) plant on into a container or grow bag and place a bamboo cane nearby for attaching stems onto with string at 20cm (8in) intervals.

Training

As the cordon-tomatoes grow attach the stem loosely to a bamboo cane with string at 20cm (8in) intervals.

Allow the flowering-stems (trusses) to develop as they appear. These will form the tomatoes after flowering.

Nip out the small leafy shoots (side shoots) that form in the angles between the main leaves and the main stem. This can be done with finger and thumb.

Keep well-watered and well-fed throughout the summer. Water habitually each morning and night. A break in routine for watering will affect fruit development and possibly cause the fruits to split.

Tomato Montello F1 - Exhibit at the Malvern Autumn Show 2016 and you could win £250

Fancy exhibiting your home-grown tomatoes? Grow Your Own tomato 'Montello' and bring to the Malvern Autumn Show to be in with a chance to win £250. See our information page on exhibiting tomato 'Montello' for more.

 

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