Grow your own: Tomatoes

The health benefits of both gardening and eating fresh fruit and vegetables are well known, but aside from the positive effect on physical and mental well-being there is no better way of getting your ‘five a day’ than growing your own. Growing them is also an ideal activity that children can get involved with, and they will be delighted to see what their hard work in the garden can achieve. Tomatoes are great to grow with kids, because they establish quickly, meaning you can quickly see them grow! They also have many benefits such as improving skin and hair quality and giving us increased energy.

Tomatoes are a great choice as they have many uses in the kitchen, salads, to cooking sauces to soup. From now (late March) until early April, it is the time to sow seeds for growing tomatoes outside. In Spring Garden Centres will have young tomato plants available. Make sure you grow your tomatoes somewhere with as much direct sunlight and wind shelter as possible as this will give them the best conditions.

Here are our four best ideas for how to grow tomatoes

  1. In hanging baskets and window boxes.

Trailing varieties such as ‘Tumbler’ can be grown in hanging baskets. These sweet cherry tomatoes will thrive if fed and watered regularly.

  1. On the patio in pots or containers.

Tomatoes grow well on a patio or sheltered balcony and can produce a steady crop. ‘Gardeners Delight’ will create a great crop if planted in a larger pot. Smaller varieties such as ‘Red Alert’ and ‘Red Profusion’ also flourish in pots.

  1. Outside in the ground.

Sometimes the traditional approaches to gardening can be the best! Tomatoes planted in the ground will need canes to support them. Ideally, plant somewhere that has not had tomato plants before as this can damage their chances. Tomatoes are cold sensitive, so ensure frosts have passed before planting out.

  1. In a growbag.

Tomatoes are shallow rooted plant so have no problems with growing in a growbag! A variety such as ‘Shirley’ is a good choice and will need a little help with canes or string to support its growth. Try Levington Tomorite Giant Planter.

We would recommend feeding your tomato plants with a food such as Tomorite by Levington. When the tomato fruit is ripe and fully coloured then it is ready for you to pick and enjoy!