British Tomato WeekI can still conjure up the sweetly acidic fragrance of ripening tomatoes in my Granddad’s rickety old greenhouse.
They were the sweetest most delicious tomatoes on the planet, though everything my Granddad grew or cooked tasted wonderful to me as an adoring granddaughter!
As this week heralds British Tomato Week, I thought I would attempt to grow my own. As I don’t own a greenhouse, this project from our book, Seasonal Garden Ideas, is perfect.
- Fingers crossed, I can grow
those sweet little morsels
that Granddad excelled at.
The taste of a sun-warmed tomato picked straight from the bush is leagues removed from anything you can buy in a shop.
Container-growing is easy and you are rewarded with a succession of tasty toms beyond compare.
- Pot up young tomato plants in late spring or early summer when all danger from frost is past for cropping throughout the summer.
- Plant in full sun.
- Planting four to six pots shouldn’t take more than an hour.
What you need
- Four to six (or more) young bush tomato plants – a wide range of different varieties is available from garden centres – including red, yellow and even purple ones. ‘Red Alert’, ‘Pixie’ and ‘Tiny Tim’ are all good small-fruited varieties with excellent flavour. ‘Roma’ is a plum-shaped variety.
- Terracotta, plastic or ceramic pots with drainage holes in the bottom.
- Soil-based potting compost.
- Broken crocks for drainage.
- Liquid tomato fertiliser.
1 Line the containers with broken crocks for drainage. Three-quarters fill with potting compost.
2 Plant the tomatoes, one to a pot, firming them in well and topping up with more compost.
3 Place the pots in a sunny, sheltered site – water well.
4 The tomato compost needs to be kept just moist at all times. Try to water regularly, little and often – an irregular regime could cause the tomatoes to split. Feed regularly with a liquid tomato fertiliser to ensure consistent development of the fruits.
As an alternative to pots, try raising tomatoes in growbags – the advantage here is that the bags come complete with just the right soil conditions. You can grow bush or cordon varieties in growbags. Cordons needing staking and you have to pinch out side shoots to restrict the plant to one main central stem.
For successful tomato growing in containers, make sure you buy an appropriate variety. Check that it is a bush variety AND check that it is suitable for outdoor cultivation – many are bred for growing in greenhouses and won’t thrive outside. Take care, too, to choose as sunny and warm a site as possible.
Bush tomato varieties don’t need any pinching out of side shoots. Pick the tomatoes as they ripen. If there are still some green tomatoes on the plants when frost seems likely, pick them all and bring them indoors to ripen.
Project taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas.
Seasonal Gardens Ideas
A beautiful book packed full of easy little projects like this and is available for just £3.99 (plus P&P).
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