How to Grow Tomatoes


  • Sowing Instructions
  • How to Transplant
  • Crop Maintenance
  • How to Harvest

Tomatoes are mostly grown in a greenhouse. It is warmth and not direct sunlight which promotes fruit ripening. Tomato plants can be grown from plants bought from garden centres in May or raised from seed in February.

Sowing Instructions

  • Sowing Time: Sow indoors in February
  • Sowing location:  Sow in 24 cell trays or 9cm pot indoors, under cover
  • Sow 3 seeds in each pot & thin out later
  • Or sow 1 seed per cell
  • Sow seed 0.1cm deep in 3 inch pots using potting compost
  • Place in propagator

How to Transplant

  • Prick out into 9cm pots once large enough
  • April / May transplant again into larger, 1ltr pots using potting compost & place in greenhouse
  • Some varieties can be grown outdoors in May
  • These include Sungold F1 & Alicante

Growing outdoors 

  • Transplant seedlings in late May
  • Position in a warm, sheltered & south facing sunny location
  • Plant into soil which is fertile, moist and drains well
  • Add well rotted farm-yard manure to soil before planting
  • Keep soil moist throughout growing season
  • A regular water supply is essential for a successful crop

Crop Maintenance

  • Feeding
    • Use a liquid feed. Once first flowers appear, use tomato feed, or fertilizer high in Potash
    • Read instructions provided on fertilizer label
    • Feed once each week 
  • Watering
    • Avoid irregular watering: If plants dry out, fruits can shrink leading to splitting
    • If over watered, tomatoes can develop ‘blossom end rot’, a black mould on base of fruits
    • Keep soil moist, water once a week 
  • Supporting
    • Tie main stem to a cane or support plants by tying them to greenhouse crossbars over head
    • Do not tie twine too tight around stem
  • Pruning
    • Reduce the number of fruiting stems to speed up ripening
    • Plants can be pruned so that only the main stem and 4 or 5 side shoots remain
    • Remove any remaining side shoots as they appear (from the base of every leaf), this is known as pinching out
    • Cut off yellowing leaves and those shading lower ‘trusses’ of fruit

How to Harvest

  • Harvest after 25 weeks 
  • Tomatoes require heat for fruit to ripen
  • Maintain regular watering at time of harvest
  • If fruits are still green, ripen indoors
  • Placing tomatoes in a warm location next to bananas helps speed up ripening process

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