Top tips for tasty tomatoes grown at home

John Shannon. INLT 13-802-CON
John Shannon. INLT 13-802-CON

Now is the time to plant tomatoes. We have 10 of the most popular varieties from which to choose.

Ailsa Craig – The most popular variety, considered very good flavour.

Moneymaker – Produces larger tomatoes.

Shirley – A modern variety which ripens very well. Good disease resistance and crops early, with a good flavour. My recommendation as the best variety.

Totem – Small bush variety grows 2ft high and across, no need to take out side shoots.

Tumbler – Small Cherry variety ideal for hanging baskets, no need to take out side shoots.

Golden Sunrise – A yellow-skinned variety.

Alicante – Another popular variety, good taste and good crop.

Rosada – A continental style, good flavour.

Gardener’s Delight – Very popular variety crops well excellent flavour cherry sized tomatoes.

Big Boy – Produces large beef steak tomatoes.

Most of the tomatoes we grow should be in a glasshouse or conservatory, with good light. Some plants can be grown outside in a container in a very sheltered

position, south-facing with lots of sunshine.

Growing inside a glasshouse is best. Once you have chosen your preferred variety, plant into the soil, spacing 45cm apart and 60cm between rows. Use a 25-30cm pot filled with compost from a tomato grow bag, specially made for tomatoes with extra potash which is very important when growing any fruit.

Once planted, give plants a good watering and never allow them to dry out, this will cause Blossom End Rot (large black spot on the bottom of the tomato).

When the plants are carrying a good crop they may need 2-3 pints of water per day during hot spells. It is always best to water in the morning and late in the day. On sunny days, pour water over the floor of the glasshouse to create a moist atmosphere, aiming a jet of water at the flowers to get good pollination in the morning, not at night.

Remove all side shoots which grow out from the main stem at the junction of a leaf. Best done by finger and thumb nail.

Feeding should commence as soon as the first fruit is formed, using a feed high in potash.

Avoid the glasshouse temperature going above 70oF by opening the door and vents. If possible, leave the vents open a little at night for good air circulation. Once the plant is over a metre high, the bottom leaves can be removed.

Any fruit formed after mid-August will not have time to ripen, so remove the growing tip from the tomato plant and more energy will go into the already formed fruit.

Enjoy your tomatoes.