Summer is really, nearly here! And we’re planting tomatoes in the greenhouse today.
I often daydream about having one of those huge polytunnels that you see at garden nurseries and growing rows and rows tomatoes inside. Maybe one day, who knows! But for now, we are sticking to the smaller space version and growing them in a grow bag.
So off to the garden centre we go. I am cheating a bit by buying a ready grown tomato plant. But we are only growing 3 and wanted to try different varieties. If you do want to grow your own, they are a pretty easy seed to grow so its a good place to start for a beginner. This year we are growing Beefsteak, Italian Plum, & Sungold varieties.
I have a small confession…. I don’t like eating tomatoes! Now maybe I am being extra fussy because I love ketchup, pizza, lasagne. In fact, this is the line my Dad used to try and pull when I was a kid “You love pizza so eat your tomatoes!” No thanks Dad! The plain tomato, can stay out of my salad and away from my plate!
I really am doing the rest of my family a service by growing them. They all love them!
I do however, just love the smell of a tomato plant. Greenhouses feel like they are missing something without a tomato plant growing inside.
With your new plants, it’s best to wait until the plant has grown it’s first flowers before planting in the grow bag so be patient.
What you need to grow your own:
A Grow bag
2-3 Tomato Plants (depending on the size of your grow bag)
A supporting cane for each plant
Before making holes in your grow bag, give it a bit of a shake to break up the compost inside. Make a few small holes in the base for drainage and cut out the pre-marked holes on the top.
Remove enough compost to make room for the plants and carefully remove them from their pots. Place the plant gently into the hole. The root ball should sit just blow the top of the bag. Cover it with some of the dug out compost and compress the compost using your hands, around the base of the plant a little.
Insert the bamboo canes next to each plant and loosely tie the tomato stem to the cane using some garden twine. Ideally, make the twine into a figure of 8 when you tie it as it creates less pressure on the stem as it grows.
Water your little plants well and wait for them to grow!
Unless your growing a bush variety (be sure to check!) You need to create a stem with 7 flowering beams. To do this, remove any little leaves you find growing in the joint between the stem and the flowering beams. Once you have grown 7, pinch away the leaves at the top of the plant, leaving a height of 2 leaves above the last beam to prevent further growth.
Water the plants daily and feed them with an appropriate tomato feed when the tomatoes have started to grow. Keep tying the plant to the cane as it grows up to make sure it’s well supported.
If you don’t have a greenhouse, fear not! There are plenty of outdoor varieties, small patio varieties and even cherry tomatoes that you can grow in hanging baskets and will produce an abundance of tiny little fruits if you look after them properly. You’ll be a tomato expert before you know it!