Everyone wants to be proud of their home-grown tomatoes as the biggest and the juiciest. There is nothing more satisfying than picking and eating a home-grown tomato, so we have put together our top tips for growing your tomato plants.
Sowing tomato seeds
If you want to grow your tomatoes from seed, the best time to sow them is normally around the middle of March. This is because by this point the risk of frost should have passed and it should have started to get warmer.
Sow the seeds in 7cm (3inch) pots that are filled with a multi-purpose compost. Keep the seeds in a warm area to start with such as indoors or in a greenhouse. The seeds should germinate within a couple of weeks. Read our guide on how to grow veg from seed for more details on sowing seeds.
Growing tomato plants
Once the seedlings have grown large enough, they need to be planted into larger pots or into a tomato planter. If you have bought tomato plants, they need to be planted out into pots or growbags. We advise growing your tomato plants in a tomato grow bag. This is because you can be sure that the soil conditions in the grow bag are ideal for the tomato plants. It is a good idea to cut some holes in the bottom of the grow-bag before planting as this provides drainage to prevent water-logging. Cut holes in the bag to fit the tomato plants in. Create a nice sized hole for the plant in the soil and place the plant in this hole. Fill the soil back in around the plant and pat down. It is important to support the plant with a cane as it grows. The grow bags can be positioned anywhere, so you can get the best sun exposure and also wind protection. Feeding of the tomato plants can also be easily controlled with tomato planters. The Gro-Sure Tomato Planter is a good planter for tomato plants because it is extra deep which is good for the roots. This means you should have a better tomato crop.
- Gently shake the plant so that pollen falls to pollinate the flowers which will then produce more tomatoes.
- Pick out any side shoots that come between the leaves and the stem. If you don’t do this you will get a big bushy plant. Removing the side-shoots also allows for better airflow around the plants.
- When the plant is about 2 metres tall, pinch out the top of the plant. This helps the plant to focus its energy into growing tomatoes rather than the plant growing.
One of the most crucial parts to growing big and juicy tomatoes is feeding them. Westland Big Tom is a tomato food enriched with the essential nutrients, and also contains a wetting agent to increase the uptake of these nutrients, for a tastier and bigger yield of tomatoes. It contains a naturally occurring stimulant to encourage root growth. Healthier roots should result in a bigger and better crop of tomatoes.
As soon as you have tiny green tomatoes in your greenhouse, start to feed the plant. This is known as the first truss set. After the first feed, the plants should then be fed at least once a week. Feed by mixing 20ml (1/2 capful) of the tomato feed with 4.5 litres of water. Apply this to the base of the plant until the soil has become completely saturated. If growing tomatoes outdoors, start to feed once the second truss has set. Feed every 10 to 14 days using the Westland Big Tom feed in a concentrate mix.
Following our advice and using Westland Big Tom to feed your tomatoes should result in you having a fantastic yield of home-grown, big and juicy tomatoes.