The health benefits of both gardening and eating fresh fruit and vegetables are well documented. Growing your own food has a positive effect on physical and mental well being and there is no better way of getting your ”five a day” than with produce you have nurtured yourself.
Tomatoes are packed full of anti-oxidants and vitamins. They are an extremely useful crop to grow as they can be used cold in salads, sandwiches etc,or used in cooking. Excess fruit can always be blitzed in the blender and frozen for a bolognese sauce or made into tomato soup.
Here are five ways to grow tomatoes yourself. Our homegrown plants are available in-store throughout the spring.
- In hanging baskets. A fun way of growing a meaningful crop of sweet cherry tomatoes is to choose a trailing variety and grow them in hanging baskets. We recommend ‘Tumbler’. The bowl of tomatoes shows some of what I picked from one plant in a 12” hanging basket last summer!! Remember to feed and water regularly.
- On the patio in pots. Tomatoes grow well in pots and containers on a patio or even a sheltered balcony. A variety like ‘Gardeners Delight’ will produce a delicious crop from a larger pot. Dwarf bush varieties will do well in smaller pots – look out for ‘Red Profusion’ and ‘Red Alert’ which both produce masses of sweet cherry tomatoes that taste amazing picked direct from the plant! Great for kids!
- Outside in the ground. When it comes to the traditional way to grow tomatoes, try a variety like ‘Outdoor Girl’. Train against a garden cane. Best to avoid areas that have previously grown tomatoes or potatoes and do not plant out until the risk of frost has passed as tomatoes are cold sensitive.
- In a Growbag. Tomatoes are shallow rooted and grow happily in a growbag in a sunny spot outside or in a greenhouse. A reliable variety to grow under glass is ‘Shirley’ as this has good resistance to Tomato Blight. Grow as a cordon up a cane or string removing side shoots. Pick out the top growing tip after 6 fruit trusses are formed. Try Levington Tomorite Giant Planter (£5.49).
- In a Grow Tower. Look out for the new self-watering Grow Pot Tower in our shop. Try growing a grafted tomato within this for a bumper crop this summer. Grafted plants have very strong root systems for extra vigor and heavy cropping. Look out for our grafted selection.
We recommend feeding all tomatoes with Tomorite (1 litre £4.99).