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If you wish to grow in a heated greenhouse:
  • You can sow seed in January.
  • Plant out in March for a May/June harvest.
  • Most people grow tomatoes in a cold greenhouse. - sowing seed in February/March and planting up in late April /May, the first fruit will be ready to harvest in early July.
If you wish to grow outdoors:
  • Set seed in March or early April under glass.
  • Harden the young plants off during May and plant out in early June.
  • The first tomatoes should be ready for picking in early August.
Preparing your Seedlings
  • Sow tomato seeds thinly in a tray filled with seed and cutting compost.
  • Cover seeds with a light layer of compost.
  • Keep compost moist but not wet.
Hardening off your Seedlings
  • Hardening-off means getting your seedlings ready for the harsh changeable weather of the outdoors.
  • Set your seedlings outside during the day, in the shade.
  • Bring your seedlings in a night-time.
  • Do this for 10 days.
Planting your Seedlings
  • Water well the day before you plan to move them.
  • When the seedlings have formed a pair of true leaves prick them out and plant them into 3 inch pots filled with compost.
  • Make sure to leave enough room for the roots of the plant to spread out.
  • Remove the lower leaves from your seedlings.
  • When pricking out seedlings try not to disturb roots as much as possible.
If you wish to plant your tomatoes outside in the ground:
  • A cool, cloudy day is best. Or during early morning or evening time when the weather is cool.
  • Cover the ground with a polythene bag and cut slits into it.
  • Carefully pick the seedling and remove the lower leaves.
  • Plant the seedlings in through the cuts in the bag.
  • Again ensure your hole is large enough to let the roots of the tomatoes spread.
  • Plant your seedlings at 12 inch intervals.
  • The most commonly grown tomatoes are cordon varieties, these are grown on a single stem and have to be trimmed and supported.
  • Loosely tie the stem to a bamboo cane at 12 inch intervals as the plant grows.
  • Side shoots will appear where the leaf stalk meets the stem; pinch them out when they are about one inch long.
  • Remove yellowing leaves below fruit trusses as the season progress but never overdo the deleafing process.
  • Water daily in dry weather always keeping soil moist.
  • Feed regularly with an organic tomato feed which can be found in our CountryLife stores.
  • Once small tomatoes have developed on the fourth trusses remove the leader tip at two leaves above this truss.
  • Pick fruits as they ripen.
  • Towards the end of the season plants can be removed from their canes and placed under a cloche to ripen any green fruit.
  • Most cordon type tomatoes can be harvested after 10-12 weeks.
  • Tomatoes freeze well
Growing Tips
  • Stagger planting times to allow for a long harvest season and a constant supply of fresh vegetables.