A fresh look at tomatoes

PUBLISHED: 11:26 15 June 2006 | UPDATED: 14:44 12 May 2010

Grow your own

Grow your own

A homegrown tomato freshly picked and eaten a few minutes later tastes vastly better than most of those which can be bought from shops and they are not difficult to grow. Tomato plants can be divided into several types, those which are hardy enough to b

A homegrown tomato freshly picked and eaten a few minutes later tastes vastly better than most of those which can be bought from shops and they are not difficult to grow.

Tomato plants can be divided into several types, those which are hardy enough to be grown outdoors in an English summer, those needing greenhouse protection, bush varieties, and plants which are best trained as cordons.

The easiest to grow are the bush varieties which can be put outside in a vegetable plot, a grow bag, or container.

These tend to produce the small, very sweet, cherry tomatoes, and while they may need a support for the main stem to stop the fruit from touching the soil or compost, they do not need any other training.

Larger tomatoes, particularly greenhouse varieties, are usually trained as cordons.

This means that all side shoots appearing from just above the leaves in the main stem should be removed as soon as they can be seen.

The flowers which will produce the tomatoes emerge at different points on the stem and five trusses should be allowed to develop before the plant is stopped by pinching out the top shoot. They need good supports.

A ripe tomato is full of fluid which means the plants must have a steady supply of water throughout the growing season and irregular watering will lead to problems with the fruit.

Once the first flowers have appeared they should be fed weekly with one of the proprietary liquid fertilisers which are readily available.

If they are grown outside they should be placed in a warm, sunny spot, sheltered from wind, and if there is limited rain they should be watered regularly to ensure that the roots have plenty of water.

Once you have grown your own tomatoes, shop-bought ones will always be a disappointment.


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