Posted: 12 June 2023
Tomatoes are a popular choice for gardeners. There are an abundance of varieties to try, from beef tomato to cherry tomatoes, which are a great choice for hanging baskets.
The tomatoes we have chosen to grow in our Kitchen Garden here at Smith’s include: Cherry Baby F1, Ambrosia Mini Plum, Shirley, Sweet Aperitif, Black Cherry, Sungold and Gardener’s Delight. We wanted to try out as many as we could see fit, to be able to best advise our customers.
Top tip: Gardener’s Delight is a great choice, not only for us but the bees too! The flowers are rich in pollen
Location & Soil:
Tomatoes love the sunshine! They thrive in warm and sunny spots, so it’s important to find the right space for them in your garden. It’s best to avoid placing them in areas with heavy shade – this can lead to a smaller yield. If you’re unsure on the best spot, you can always plant them in a pot and have the freedom to move them around.
Whether you’re planting in a pot or directly into the ground, we would always recommend choosing a compost with good drainage. Our go to compost for this at Smith’s is Sylvagrow Multi-Purpose. A peat-free compost is especially good if you’re planting in clay based soil, this helps work drainage in.
Starting from seed is certainly a rewarding experience but if you’re short on time, we offer tomato plants in 9cm pots – usually from the beginning of May and 1L pots from the beginning of June.
Dig a hole that is slightly deeper than the root ball of the plant and gently remove it from its container. Place the tomato plant in the hole and fill it with your chosen soil, gently pressing down to remove any air pockets.
Tip: We’ve planted french marigolds at the base of our tomato plants in the kitchen garden to help keep pests at bay. They’ve got a certain smell that whitefly hate, so this is a great, natural way to fend off unwanted pests.
Watering & Feeding:
Tomatoes prefer to have a consistent watering schedule, so it’s important to water evenly throughout the growing season. However, should we have any particularly dry spells, be sure to water more frequently. Make sure to avoid getting water on the leaves as this can unfortunately lead to fungal growth, it’s best to water around the base of the plant to avoid this.
Feeding your tomato plants is also key to a healthy harvest, at Smith’s we would suggest a tomato feed such as Tomorite. If you are growing your tomatoes in a greenhouse, start your feeding regime when the first stem with small green fruits appears. If you’re growing your tomatoes outside, it’s better to wait until the second set appears. From then on, continue feeding once a week for optimal results, refer to your chosen feed for more specific timings.
Supporting your Upright Tomato Plants:
As your tomato plants grow, they will need support to keep them upright and prevent them from sprawling on the ground. Use stakes to support your plants, and tie them loosely to the support as they grow.
Pruning your tomato plants can also help improve their health and yield. Pinch off any suckers that grow between the main stem and the branches, as these can divert energy away from fruit production. A sucker is a shoot that forms in the joint where a leaf meets the stem.
Tomatoes are ready to harvest when they are fully ripe and have a bright colour. Gently twist or cut the fruit from the vine, being careful not to damage the plant or any other fruit.
To summarise, remember to choose the right location, prepare the soil, and provide your plants with consistent care and attention. Happy gardening!
For more gardening tips head to our Garden Blog https://smiths-gardencentre.co.uk/blog/
To find out more about our Loyalty Scheme and how to receive our exclusive discounts click here https://smiths-gardencentre.co.uk/loyalty-scheme/