Tomato Growing Guide
Grow your own tomatoes in a few simple steps with our handy tomato growing guide and get ready to enjoy huge harvests of your favourite tomatoes.
Day 1 – Cover seed with 1cm compost. Water to be damp, not saturated. Ideal temperature 18°C.
Day 2 and Onwards – Don’t let the compost dry out completely.
Week 2 – Tomato seedlings should appear. Place your seedlings somewhere with good light. Keep compost moist.
Week 4 – When 3-4 inches tall move into individual 3 inch pots. Bury to below 1st leaves. Then water.
Week 6-8 – Place into growbag, planter or pots. At night, if temperatures are below 4°C use a greenhouse heater or bring the plants indoors.
Final step - Enjoy your bumper harvest!
When growing tomatoes, choose a variety that will be suited to the space you have available and the flavours and textures you like. Tomato varieties grow as vines (cordon) or bushes.
Vine tomatoes also known as indeterminate are best if you are growing tomatoes in greenhouses and polytunnels. Indeterminate tomatoes are the most popular to grow. These tomato plants can grow to several metres long. Bush tomato varieties are also known as determinate tomatoes and are more compact, ideal if you are growing tomatoes outside.
Splitting tomatoes? Blossom end rot? Banish them and other tomato growing problems with our tomato trouble shooting guide! (ohh and a Quadgrow might help too!). Read our guide HERE.
Our Favourite Tomato Varieties to Grow
Vine types (also known as indeterminate) are best suited to greenhouses and polytunnels due to their large size and care they require. Indeterminate varieties are the most popular. These tomato plants are grown with a single main stem and the side shoots need to be removed regularly. These tomato plants can grow to be several meters long and therefore they need to be supported. Our support frame in combination with our Roller Hooks would be ideal.
Bush types are also known as determinate. These are more compact tending to stay bushy and quite short, so they are ideal for growing outside as they are very easy to support with a bamboo cane. Popular varieties including Tumbling Tom, Red Alert and Garden Pearl. It is not necessary to remove the side shoots with these varieties.
Here are some of our favourite varieties. All are indeterminate unless otherwise stated:
Alicante Tomatoes – a medium sized fleshy full flavoured tomato. A popular variety which matures early and produces excellent sized crops of medium sized fleshy fruits with very good flavour.
Tigeralla – red and yellow stripped tomato, looks superb and has a lovely rich tagy flavour. Produces heavy crops up to 3 weeks earlier than the other popular early cropper ‘Moneymaker’. It grows well outdoors or in a polytunnel or greenhouse.
Gardner’s Delight – Very popular bite sized variety, very reliable and prolific. This tomato is packed with rich, sweet flavour. The plants carry a heavy crop of fruits borne on long trusses. Can be grown indoors or outdoors, either as a bush or as a single stem with the side shoots being removed.
Country Taste – a Beefsteak tomato – These meaty delicious tomatoes can weigh around 227g (1/2lb) if trusses are trimmed to allow 3 or 4 fruit to ripen per truss. One of the earliest beefsteak tomatoes to set and ripen when grown in a greenhouse. Popular exhibition tomato.
Cristal – Firm, round, glossy scarlet-skinned fruits with ruby-red, dark flesh. The tomatoes weigh around 120g (4oz) and are greenback-free. Best grown in a greenhouse or polytunnel, although it can be grown in a warm, sunny position outdoors. Excellent disease resistance.
Marmande Tomatoes – Provence’s favourite tomato. These tomatoes are large and meaty with gorgeous ribs. Great slicing. Best grown outdoors but can also be grown in a greenhouse or polytunnel. Semi-determinate, may need support.
Sungold – we grow this every year. A hugely popular sweet, heavy cropping, tasty, thin skinned, golden orange cherry tomato. Can be grown outdoors or in a greenhouse or polytunnel.
San Marzano – The tomato of chefs and the only tomato that can be used for Vera Pizza Napoletana (True Neapolitan Pizza). The perfect balance of acidity and sweetness, superb flavour with thich flesh and few seeds. Ideal for passata, pizzas and roasting.
If your getting started on growing your own tomatoes then visit our Tomato Growing Essentials page to get your tomatoes off to a great head start