How to grow tomatoes

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

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Grow a tomato in 5 easy steps

  1. Sow tomato seeds indoors from late February onwards. They should be in a seed tray or pot about 2cm apart.
  2. 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.
  3. Check your seeds daily. The moment seedlings appear, remove the paper and move them to a light, warm window ledge.
  4. When two strong seed leaves are showing, transplant into 8cm pots.
  5. When seedlings are 20cm tall, move them to large pots or a growbag for growing on indoors.

tomato plant growing on city balcony

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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