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Home » Gardening and pest control

How to grow tomatoes with FREE seeds!

Submitted by on Friday, 11 February 2011 Loading Add to favourites  No Comment

tomatoes-in-hanging-basketI don’t know about you, but I’m itching to get my hands in the soil.

The other day I saw clumps of snowdrops – for me, that’s a sure sign that spring is on the way and my mind turns to growing food and flowers in the garden.

Fortunately, Britain On Show, are giving away free tomato seeds to anyone who applies!

Tomatoes are the perfect crop for beginners AND people without a garden! Even if you live in a high rise apartment without a plot of land, I believe you can be self sufficient in tomatoes.

Container gardening

Tomatoes are one of the most common vegetables to be grown in pots and it’s easy to see why. They are particularly suited to container gardening; you can use individual pots, grow bags, hanging baskets, window boxes or grow them indoors on a sunny window sill. Use tumbling tomatoes for hanging baskets and window boxes.

Sowing tomato seeds

Tomato seed are sown around March or April indoors, so apply for your free seeds ready for sowing time!

Sow the seeds into trays and keep them on a windowsill. When they are sturdy enough to handle, put in slightly larger pots. Once the plants are about 8 inches tall they can be hardened off and planted outdoors. If you live in a small house and it would be impossible to sow things inside, sow them straight into their containers outdoors, but wait until the soil is warm and frosts have passed.

Position and soil

Tomatoes need a lot of sun and fertile, well drained soil. They are often grown in greenhouses because they like warmth; so a south facing wall is the ideal position for your pot, or you could use a south facing windowsill and grow indoors in a large pot. Most tomatoes, apart from tumbling and compact varieties require support – a bamboo cane is ideal with string tied loosely around the stems to keep them in place.

Care of tomatoes

Tomatoes require regular and vigilant watering. They wilt easily and insufficient watering can lead to blossom end rot; a calcium deficiency. If you then over water the plants, the fruits can split or end up tasteless. Tomatoes are hungry plants which require a high potash feed once the fruits start forming.

Pests and diseases

The main pests to attack tomatoes are aphids and whitefly; although these are generally a problem for tomatoes grown in greenhouses. Conversely, outdoor grown tomatoes are more prone to potato blight.

Varieties

‘Gardeners Delight’ are small, sweet fruits which retain a good ‘bite’ and are delicious eaten in salads. ‘Sweet million’ will provide you with up to 50 tiny tomatoes per truss. Try ‘tumbling tom’ for hanging baskets or window boxes. ‘Totem’ grow 30cms (12″) high plants producing high yields of large cherry tomatoes which are perfect for indoors.

Do you grow tomatoes? Which is your favourite variety?

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