Our Top 10 Tips for Growing Tomatoes

There’s no better time to get started growing your own tomatoes at home.

By following these tips, you’ll soon be enjoying a bountiful harvest of delicious, homegrown tomatoes. Happy growing!

1. Choose The Right Variety

There are many varieties, each with unique characteristics like flavour, size, and growth habit. Selecting the right type of tomato for your growing conditions is crucial. 

Determinate varieties are more compact and suitable for growing in containers, while indeterminate varieties grow larger and are ideal for open garden spaces. Tumbling varieties can also be grown in pots and hanging baskets, making them perfect for small spaces or decorative displays.

2. Start With Healthy Seeds or Seedlings

Begin with high-quality seeds or healthy seedlings. It’s a little late now to start sowing seeds, but you’ll find a wide variety of tomato plants here at our Garden Centre to choose from.

3. Use The Right Soil

Tomatoes thrive in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. It’s key to enhance your garden soil with compost or well-rotted manure – this will help improve soil structure, fertility, and water retention, providing a healthy growing environment for your plants. If planting in containers, we recommend you use a high-quality potting mix specifically designed for vegetables such as New Horizon ‘All Veg Compost’ or by using a Westland ‘Big Tom’ Growbag.

4. Plenty Of Sunlight

Tomatoes need at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Choose a sunny spot in your garden or position containers where they will receive ample sunlight. Insufficient light can lead to leggy plants and poor fruit production.

5. Water Consistently

Consistent watering is key to preventing issues like blossom end rot and splitting. Water deeply and regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged.

Whilst the plants need constant moisture, wet foliage can promote diseases like blight and leaf spots. Using a drip irrigation system that delivers water directly to the soil around the plants can help minimise disease risks and reduce water waste. You’ll find a wide range of Gardena Irrigation Drip systems available here at the Garden Centre.

6. Fertilise

Tomatoes are heavy feeders and benefit from regular fertilisation. Use a balanced fertiliser or one with slightly higher phosphorus to promote fruiting such as Westland ‘Big Tom’. Avoid excessive nitrogen, which can lead to lush foliage but fewer fruits.

7. Prune And Support Plants

As tomato plants grow, they can become heavy and prone to tipping over. For climbing varieties, use stakes, cages, or trellises to support the plants and keep the tomato fruits off the ground.

We also recommend pruning the suckers (the little shoots that develop in the crotch between the stem and a branch) to improve air circulation and direct the plant’s energy toward fruit production.

8. Keep An Eye Out For Pests and Diseases

Watch out for common pests like aphids, tomato hornworms, and whiteflies, as well as for diseases such as blight. Use organic pest control methods, like neem oil or insecticidal soap.

9. Rotate Your Crops

To prevent soil-borne diseases and pests, avoid planting tomatoes in the same spot year after year. To maintain soil health and avoid problems, rotate your tomato plants to a different part of the garden each year. Rotate them with other crops like beans, corn, or lettuce to keep the soil healthy.

10. Harvest At The Right Time

Harvest tomatoes when they are fully coloured and slightly firm to the touch. Tomatoes ripen off the vine, so if colder weather threatens, you can pick them early and let them ripen indoors. Regular harvesting encourages more fruit production.

As you embark on your gardening journey, remember that experimentation and learning are all part of the fun. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them along the way. With a little patience, dedication, sunlight and water – you’ll soon be enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of your labour.

Ready to get started? Here at our Garden Centre, you’ll find loads of seeds and young seedlings here at the garden centre to get you started, as well as any compost, tools, and pots to get you on your way. 

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With over 40 years’ experience of growing and selling plants, a visit to Priory Farm Garden Centre is the perfect choice for any gardener.