Go Organic - Sow your tomato seed nowBy James Ashford
January 16, 2009
Last week it was potatoes this week it is time to turn your attention to their cousins the tomatoes.
If you want to grow tomatoes in a greenhouse or polytunnel this summer now is the time to get them started indoors.
Tomatoes are the very taste of summer and there is a fantastic range of tomatoes available for gardeners to grow so it’s worth taking a bit of time to choose the tastiest varieties.
You can also save a small fortune by growing your own.
I usually grow a couple of reliable old favourites like Shirley and the aptly named Gardener’s Delight but I also like to try growing a new variety every year.
Last year I grew an old French beefsteak variety called Marmande, which was not especially productive but was absolutely delicious.
Once you have your seed you need a place to grow them.
Tomato seeds need a little bit of warmth to germinate but as soon as the first tiny leaves appear they need to be transferred to a cool bright windowsill.
I usually start mine off in small pots so that they are easy to transplant as they get bigger.
What you should be aiming to grow are sturdy little plants with a good strong root system.
If they are kept warm or dark the seedlings will grow too quickly and become tall and spindly.
You can actually encourage the stems to grow thick and strong by blowing gently across the plants to mimic the wind.
Plants grown on window-sills also tend to grow towards the light so turn the pots every day or so to keep them growing upright.
As the plants get bigger you will need to transfer them to bigger and bigger pots and you may find yourself running short of window-sills.
The plants can go out into the greenhouse as soon as the danger of frost is past towards the end of May.
They will need plenty of water and some high potassium feed to keep them productive but with a bit of care and attention you should have more tomatoes than you can eat right up until the end of October.