Organically-grown tomatoes are a must for every garden. There are hundreds of varieties available including compact ones perfect for container-growing and plenty well-suited for growing outdoors. They're a great crop for someone new to growing and taste so much better than shop-bought tomatoes. What's more, tomatoes are also really easy to save seed from.
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How to grow

Sow tomato seed 0.1cm deep in pots. Pot on if your seedlings outgrow their original pots/seed tray. If you're growing them in a greenhouse or under cover, transplant your tomato plants into large pots when the first flowers open. If you're growing them outside, harden them off and transplant 30-45cm apart when the first flowers open. Flowers grown outdoors need a sunny, sheltered site.

As your tomatoes are growing, keep the soil moist and feed them regularly with a tomato feed or a homemade feed such as comfrey. Tie the main stem to a stake and remove side shoots if you're growing a cordon variety (the seed packet will tell you what type of variety you are growing). Remove any yellowing leaves, and any leaves that shade lower trusses of fruit.

Harvesting and use

Remove the growing tips after seven trusses have set for plants grown under cover, or after four trusses for plants grown outside. Pick when fully coloured.

If you have unripe, green tomatoes left at the end of the season, bring them indoors and ripen in a sunny spot or in a dark place next to a ripe banana. Green tomatoes also make great chutney.

Troubleshooting

Tomatoes can suffer from blossom end rot. This occurs when there are insufficient calcium levels in developing fruit and is most common when the first trusses are forming and calcium demand is high. As water transports calcium around the tomato plant the condition is usually linked to inadequate or irregular watering. Watering daily, at least, will be necessary in hot conditions. Pick off and compost any fruits that have been affected. Mulching around tomato plants with grass clippings, straw or hay will prevent plants drying out.

Seed Saving

Tomatoes are one of the easiest crops to save seed from - most won't cross-pollinate, the seeds are ready when the fruits are, and after saving seed you still have the delicious flesh to eat. See our full tomato seed saving instructions here.

Growing notes
Difficulty Easy
Germination time 8-11 days
Average growing period 12-20 weeks
Equipment needed Stakes, twince , feed
Average plant size 30-150ch tall, 30cm wide
Family group to grow with Solanaceae: aubergine, potato
Key nutritional content Vitamin C, vitamin A

Download our tomato growing cards below

Growing calendar
Sow indoors March/April
Plant out Late April to early June
Harvest July to October