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There can hardly be a glasshouse in the country that does not have a few tomato plants growing in it. Nothing tastes quite like a tomato freshly picked from your own garden. The range of colours, shapes and sizes is wide as is obvious from our list of over 30 varieties. Even if you only have a window box you can produce your own tomatoes but they are not without their problems. Tomato plants are very delicate, they can succumb to disease, they need a fair amount of attention and just a smell of a hormone spray from a neighbouring garden or field can result in deformed fruits and plants - but they’re still worth the effort.
Most of the varieties listed can be grown outside, in greenhouses or in Polytunnel. Outdoor crops will always be later to start fruiting, the best results under cover come from F1 hybrid varieties which have the best disease resistance. Sow seeds under glass from January to April 0.5cm (1/4“) deep in pots or trays of good seed sowing compost and lightly cover with a sprinkling of vermiculite or compost.
Place containers in a propagator at a temperature of 18-21°C. Prick out seedlings, once large enough to handle, into 9cm (31/2”) pots. Transplant to the greenhouse border soil, or individual large pots, or 3 plants per growbag when 20cm (8”) high. Can also be planted outdoors once all risk of frost has passed 45cm (18”) apart and 75cm (30”) between rows. Some varieties will require side shooting, removing the small shoots as they appear at the leaf joint. Stake and support plants for the best yields. Take out the growing point when plants reach the glasshouse eaves or after 4-5 trusses if growing outdoors. Water and feed plants regularly with a high potash feed once the first truss has set. Uneven watering can cause fruits to split and black blotches to form on the base of fruits - known as blossom end rot. If growing outdoors try growing one of the blight resistant varieties.
Indeterminate types - single stem, remove side shoots.
Determinate types - bush type, do not remove side shoots
Semi-determinate - similar to determinate, slightly taller, do not remove side shoots.