How to Grow Tomatoes


Greenhouse Tomatoes

Click here for Outdoor Tomatoes

Click here for Tomato Troubles

Sowing Time

Planting Time Soil Spacing Cutting / Lifting Time Storage

Cooking

Tomato plants grown in a greenhouse will produce fruits from the end of June until October. However, they require constant care and daily watering. Sow two seeds in a 3ins peat pot and remove the weaker one once they form a pair of true leaves. Plant into grow bags or pots when 6-8ins high and the first flowers begin to open. Support the main stem and remove side shoots. Feed with tomato food every time you water. Ensure adequate ventilation and shade during very hot weather. Harvest the fruits when they are ripe and well coloured.
In a heated greenhouse: late December to mid January. In a cold greenhouse: Late February to mid March. In a heated greenhouse: late February to mid March. In a cold greenhouse: Late April to mid May. If grown in the borders of a greenhouse prepare the soil in winter and add a small amount of compost/manure. Grow Bags can be used but must be kept well watered. If using pots, fill with soil less potting compost. Plant 18ins apart Late May to mid October Will keep fresh in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to one week. If freezing: skin and core then simmer for 5mins. Sieve, cool and pack in a rigid container before freezing. Most tomatoes are eaten raw but they can be grilled, stuffed or roasted

 

Outdoor Tomatoes

Sowing Time Planting Time Soil Spacing Cutting / Lifting Time Storage

Cooking

Tomatoes grown outdoors require some protection. Ensure you buy a variety recommended for growing outdoors. Prepare the ground well and remove the growing point of cordon varieties. Sow two seeds in a 3ins peat pot and remove the weaker one once they form a pair of true leaves or buy seedlings of 8ins tall. Plant into grow bags or the ground when 6-8ins high and the first flowers begin to open. Support the main stem and remove side shoots. Feed with tomato food every time you water. Harvest the fruits when they are ripe and well coloured.
Late March to mid April Mid May under glass to early June Prepare the ground well and add compost and a general fertiliser. Choose a sunny, sheltered spot. Can be grown in posts or grow bags. Plant 18ins apart with 30ins between rows Mid July to early October Will keep fresh in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to one week. If freezing: skin and core then simmer for 5mins. Sieve, cool and pack in a rigid container before freezing. Most tomatoes are eaten raw but they can be grilled, stuffed or roasted

 

 

Tomato Troubles

Trouble Symptoms Treatment

Prevention

Blossom End Rot Leathery dark-coloured patch at bottom of fruit None Don’t allow soil or compost to dry out
Blossom Drop Flowers wither and break off None Water regularly and mist the flowers in the morning
Blotchy Ripening Parts of the fruit fail to ripen None Control the heat in greenhouses and feed and water regularly
Buckeye Rot Brown concentric rings around a grey spot on unripe fruit None Tie up lower trusses to avoid splashing. Apply a mulch.
Dry Set Fruitlets stop growing None Mist plants twice a day with water
Eelworm Stunted growth. Discoloured and wilted leaves. Tiny white cysts on roots. None Don’t grow tomatoes or potatoes in infested soil for at least six years.
Foot Rot Stem bases are brown. Tends to affect seedlings. None Use sterilised soil or compost to raise seedlings. Don’t over water.
Greenback The area around the stalk remains green and hard None Provide shade to greenhouses to control the heat. Feed regularly.
Ghost Spot Grey mould spores fall on fruit leaving ‘water spots’ None Provide good ventilation. Control Grey Mould and do not splash fruit when watering
Greenhouse Whitefly Tiny moths on underside of leaves. Leaves are pale and curled. Sticky fruit with black mould. Spray at first sign of attack None
Grey Mould Grey mould appears on damaged stems and can spread Cut out diseased area Ensure adequate ventilation, avoid over crowding and remove decaying leaves and fruit.
Hormone Damage Fern-like and twisted leaves. Twisted stems and stalks. None Ensure lawn weed killer does not come in contact with plants
Hollow Fruit Hollow fruit None Avoid too much heat or cold. Water regularly. Ensure adequate potash in the soil.
Leaf Roll Rolled leaves is not a bad sign in young leaves as long as they are dark green. In older leaves it may be due to side variations in day and night temperatures. Provided no pests are present then no action is required.
Magnesium Deficiency Yellowing between veins of leaves. Starts on lower leaves and moves up. Use a foliar spray containing magnesium None
Potato Blight Bark brown blotches on leaves. Brown, shrunken areas on fruit. May develop during storage. None Tomatoes grown under glass are not always infected but to prevent a likely attack or for outdoor tomatoes use a protective spray of mancozeb (Dithane) or copper (Murphy Traditional Copper or Vitax Bordeaux Mixture). Try to apply these before the symptoms are seen but if this isn’t possible use as soon as possible. They will not totally prevent infection, but often slow it sufficiently to save the crop.
Root Rot Roots are brown and corky. Plants wilt in hot weather. Mulch to encourage new roots Use new soil or fresh compost
Sun Scald Pale brown, papery-skinned depression on side of fruit facing greenhouse glass None Paint glass and damp down well. Do not mist plants at mid-day.
Split Fruit Fruits split None Keep roots moist
Stem Rot Stem bases are brown. Tends to affect mature plants. None Sterilise greenhouse and equipment
Tomato Leaf Mould Purple brown mould patches on underside of leaves, yellow patches on upper side. Lower leaves attacked first. Remove some of the lower leaves and spray at first sign of attack. Ventilate greenhouse at night
Tomato Moth Large, green or brown caterpillars tunnel into fruit and stems. None Spray when small caterpillars holes appear in leaves
Virus Mottled and curled leaves. Dark vertical streaks on the stems. Stunted growth. Mottled and bronzed fruits. None Buy virus-free plants. Spray to control greenfly
Verticillium Wilt Leaves wilt in hot weather. Lower leaves turn yellow. Brown streaks through the stem tissue Mulch around stem to encourage new roots. Don’t grow tomatoes in infected soil

 

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