A notoriously high maintenance vegetable (or should we say fruit) to grow, tomatoes become almost like your child; you’ll nurture it, watch it grow, and tend to their every need. It might be hard work to get them going, but the rewards are worth it when you’ve put love and care into growing your tomatoes.
What do tomatoes need to grow?
Tomatoes are a summer fruit, so they need a lot of sunshine, nutrients and water to thrive, but there’s more to it than just the basics. Essentially, tomatoes need to get a solid 8 hours of sunshine every day while growing, so choose a place in your garden that gets the most amount of sun! If this is hard, you can always use a raised garden bed or large pot in a sunny spot for the tomatoes to grow, using plenty of organic matter as they love to feed.
How can I start growing my tomatoes?
Get your seedlings going by placing a glass frame over your tomato area to fight off frost at night; you can also keep seedling trays in a warm spot and fertilise regularly to kickstart the process. While tomatoes are at risk of fungal disease, they need constant airflow especially if your climate is humid – knowing your area’s climate is an advantage when growing your own tomatoes.
How often should I water my tomatoes?
Tomatoes are thirsty fruits, they love regular watering around the root zone! If watering from a can or hose, ensure you point the nozzle directly over the soil. Spraying the leaves can promote disease. Growing tomatoes in pots works well, or you can install drip irrigation to efficiently water your tomato roots – they’re better off rooted a third deeper than other plants as they love deep, cool soil to grow in. This helps them take up more nutrients as they go and produce more fruit for harvest, win!
What varieties of tomatoes can I grow?
Growing cherry tomatoes are a great alternative as they’re small, sweet, and go with many dishes (plus they’re delicious straight off the vine). Having the right conditions for your cherry tomato crop means you can splurge a little more on the good varieties and even try something different like heirloom tomatoes, or the purple, yellow or green kind for some beautiful flavours.
What else should I know about how to grow tomatoes?
Tomatoes you grow yourself can be rewarding and are best eaten fresh off the vine, but you can also enjoy them cooked, pickled or dried for a longer shelf life. It’s a good idea to keep a record of your variety and how your crop grew, especially if you need some pointers for your next harvest if it isn’t going as well. Tomatoes are unpredictable and while you might do everything right, there’s always a risk of them not being the same as last year – remember tomatoes are at risk of disease, avoid growing plants in the same bed two years in a row, rotate your plantings for each new crop.
Pope's DIY Tip
Growing cherry tomatoes is super rewarding and you’ll easily find specialist seed suppliers at your local garden centre that can give you the right information for your climate and space. While it’s a lot more cost effective growing cherry tomatoes from seedlings, you’ll need to dedicate more time and effort to sow them to reap their fruition.