Green Fingers I Wish

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Growing Tomatoes Isn`t Too Difficult

Fill a 7.5cm (3in) pot with compost, lightly firm and water. Scatter seeds thinly (most germinate so only sow a few more than you need) and cover with a thin layer of vermiculite. Label and put on a windowsill to germinate. Seedlings should appear within two weeks and be large enough to move into separate pots in about eight weeks. To do this, hold seedlings carefully by their leaves and gently lever up with a dibber. Make a hole in a 7.5cm (3in) pot filled with compost and carefully lower in the seedling. Gently firm, making sure roots are covered and water. When roots come through the drainage holes put into a 12.5cm (5in) pot.

When the first truss or 'branch' of flowers has appeared, tomatoes are ready to go into growing bags. Prepare the bag by shaking and kneading it to break up clods of compacted compost and form into a hummock shape. Puncture the base to make some drainage holes and cut out the pre-marked planting squares. Scoop out compost for the tomatoes to be planted. The top of the root ball should be beneath the top of the bag and have a light covering of compost. Firm in and water. Put a growing bag frame over the bag and insert a cane next to each plant. Secure this to the frame and as it grows, tie the tomato to the cane every 10cms (4in). Water daily and feed with tomato fertiliser every week for the best fruit.

Unless you are growing a bush tomato, the aim is to create a single-stemmed plant. To do this, snap out shoots that grow in leaf joints and when your plant has produced four sets of flowering trusses, pinch out the growing tip. This will ensure all its energy goes into producing fruit.

There are hundreds of varieties of tomatoes, from tiny cherry tomatoes to huge beefsteak types. Why not try a few different varieties every year.


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