It’s that time of year when I start to think about which veg I should be planting, as this year I have been a bit lazy and got all my plants from the boot sales, this has cut down on lots o f time which is usually spent getting seeds, compost, potting and cultivating in my hot house.
Of course some people like to do this and I used to love pottering around in the garden shed, but for this year I have cheated and gone to the boot sales to buy most of my vegetable and fruit plants from the sellers who have done the ground work for me and I have bought the pots of established plants from 50p to 99p depending on variety and size.
You can buy the seeds from garden centres for around 99p to 1.99 depending on variety and you can also buy established plants too, but I find nowadays the boot sales are taking over the garden centres, for choice and value for money.
There are a few good types of tomatoes which will bring you a good yield. I find that the Money-maker and the Histon Early, but there are other types too.
The Amateur can be grown in a greenhouse, along with the Early Market and the Harbinger.
Any are good but the money-maker will give you a good crop.
Seeds are usually sown about an inch apart in something like John Innes compost and can then be transferred to the pots, beds or outdoor boxes when taller.
I also buy the trays of individual smaller pullet pots which are made of bio-degradable substance, these can be planted with seeds then popped into the ground, grow bag, box or greenhouse without to much bother as the plant will grow and the little pullet pot will breakdown in the ground.
March is a good time to plant the seeds then transfer to the greenhouse when taller usually about three inches high, you can make a little Polly tunnel out of frame and polythene and grow them in grow bags, I have seen this done with good results of tasty large crops.
Don’t forget that most tomatoes plants grow tall and will need propping up with bamboo supports, tie these to the stem but only loosely so as not to damage the stem.
Remember tomatoes love water and air so make sure they are regularly checked for both, tomato food can be given if you like to promote growth.
When the plants have produced around seven trusses of flowers pinch out the tip of shoots to promote swelling of the fruit, if this is not done puny little tomatoes will grow.
Fruits can be picked as they ripen and green tomatoes can be picked if they have reached the right size and put in a drawer to ripen. Lay these on brown paper bags in the drawer.
The tomatoes is quite easy to grow as long as you remember to water, feed nip and pick the fruit, but they can be susceptible to diseases.
Leaf mould, which is yellow blotches on the upper sides of the leaf.
Stem canker which causes darkening at the bottom of the plant stem and makes them fall over.
Greenback which is hard green or yellow patches on the fruit near the stalks and other diseases which can all be treated with sprays from the garden centres and a watchful eye on your plant for the early signs.
All in all the tomatoes is a goof plant to start off growing if you have decided to turn your hand to gardening, it is fun and easy for children to grow as one pot takes up no room at all if you have no garden and the fruit can be eaten when ready.
There are lots of good recipes for tomatoes and they add that extra zing to a sandwich especially if you have grown it yourself.
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