Gardening: Homebase shares tips to help grow tomatoes
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After tomato shortages earlier this month, it’s likely many Britons will be attempting to grow their own. While growing your own crops may look daunting, going tomatoes is actually simple and very rewarding.
Even just having a couple of plants will reward you with containers filled with tomatoes.
Tomatoes are ideal for growing in containers either in a sunny spot in a garden or in a greenhouse.
The fruit can be sown from late February to mid-March in a greenhouse or from late March to early April outside.
Tomatoes can then be harvested from July to September and maybe even later depending on the weather conditions.
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To produce the “biggest” and “juiciest” tomatoes, tomato expert Angharad James has shared the “secret” to growing tomatoes at home.
Angharad James, product manager at Phostrogen®, said: “Don’t forget to fertilise. The secret to growing tomatoes is in the soil – you need nutrient-rich compost to ensure your plant grows big, juicy tomatoes.
“The leaves and fruits of a tomato plant consume a lot of nutrients, so it’s essential you feed your plants using a specialist fertiliser.”
The tomato expert suggested using organic tomato food to increase your plant’s yield and produce more “tasty tomatoes”.
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It’s best to choose a tomato food enriched with seaweed that provides plants with a good balance of nutrients.
Phostrogen® Organic Tomato Food costs £8.99 from Amazon and Levington Tomorite Concentrated Tomato Food costs £6.59 from Amazon. Wilko Organic Concentrated Tomato Food costs £4.
Angharad also said watering the plant correctly is important too as watering the leaves can cause disease.
The expert said: “When it comes to watering, try not to wet the leaves as this can encourage disease such as blight to spread, but ensure that tomato plants aren’t allowed to dry out as this increases the risk of blossom end rot.
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“Keep soil consistently moist, as fluctuating levels can stunt growth and encourage disease, and remove side shoots to promote a healthy, full growth.”
There are two types of tomato plants you can grow – cordon and bush tomatoes.
Cordon tomatoes tend to be taller and need support. They like a sunny position and are suited to a greenhouse.
However, if you have limited space like a patio or a balcony, cordon tomatoes are also a great option as they grow vertically while producing lots of crops.
Bush tomatoes are shorter and wider and suit growing in pots and grow bags. Some can be grown in hanging baskets.
These are easier to grow than cordon tomatoes and only need regular watering and feeding to keep them happy.
Tomato seeds can be bought in garden centres or online but you will need to check which variety you’re buying.
Some popular varieties include Sungold, Craigella, Roma, Costoluto Fiorentino and Tigerella.
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