How to grow tomatoes

Tomatoes are notorious attention seekers and need TLC. But that's not to say that growing tomatoes is difficult.

Sow tomato seeds indoors from late February onwards. They should be in a seed tray or pot about 2cm apart.

Cover the seeds with a sprinkling of compost, put a layer of newspaper on top of them, then leave in a warm place like an airing cupboard.

Check your seeds daily. The moment seedlings appear, remove the paper and move them to a light, warm window ledge.

When two strong seed leaves are showing, transplant into 8cm pots.

When seedlings are 20cm tall, move them to large pots or a growbag for growing on indoors.

Typically your plants will be vine or bush varieties. Vines will need tying to a stake, and the non-fruiting side shoots breaking off. Bush varieties can be left to get on with it.

For the best results, grow tomatoes indoors. If you're in a mild area, however, you could grow tomatoes outside once there is no threat from frost.

Remember to choose the right variety. Shirley is a very popular indoor tomato, while Outdoor Girl is rated in the open air. Gardener's Delight is a fine-tasting cherry type which can be grown in or out.

Tomatoes like to be fed a plant food and need regular watering rather than fluctuating drought and flood. It’s true that they're demanding plants - but definitely worth it.

Enjoy your freshly grown crop using this tasty tomato topping recipe.


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