Want to get a head start on your tomatoes this year? Tomatoes are already available in nurseries, but when buying them this early in Spring, they must be kept sheltered until the risk of frosts has passed. Here's a handy guide to help you work out which will suit your family:
Tomatoes can be classified into two categories: Deteminate and Indeterminate.
Known as bush tomatoes, they are more compact varieties of tomatoes that grow between 50cm to 1m tall. They are perfect for pots, and can be grown in a cage or without support at all. The fruit all tend to ripen within a 2-3 week period, and then the plants are usually finished producing for the season. Good for making batch recipes such as sauces. Varieties of Determinate Tomatoes Include:
- Burnley Surecrop
- First Prize
- San Marzano
- Tiny Tim
Known as vine tomatoes, they have a much more vigorous growth habit with longer stem growth that require staking and tying to a supporting structure. They fruit throughout the growing season, and will produce fruit until the first frosts of Autumn arrive. Varieties of Indetermine Tomatoes include:
- Beef Steak
- Big Pear
- Black Russian
- Green Zebra
- Grosse Lisse
- Health Kick
- Jaunne Flamme
- Mortgage Lifter
- Mighty Red
- Ox Heart
- Red Cherry
- Sweet Bite
- Tommy Toe
You've chosen your varieties of tomatoes, now for a few tomato care basics:
Tomatoes are heavy feeders, prepare the soil by adding lots of Potassium, rock dust, potash and blood and bone. Also add compost, manure and liquid fertiliser to ensure the soil remains rich and well drained.
Never grow tomatoes in the same place as the previous year, as this encourages bacterial and fungal diseases that may still be present in the soil from the previous year.
Tomatoes love full sun! Plant them in a spot that will recieve six to eight hours of sunlight a day.
What tomatoes are you planting this year?