Tomatoes: outdoor

Outdoor tomatoes are a tender crop, so choose a warm spot in front of a south-facing wall if you can. During winter, dig the soil thoroughly and incorporate garden compost as well as peat. Shortly before planting, rake in a general fertiliser such as Growmore. If you’re short of space, you can grow tomatoes in containers or bags on your patio or balcony, but remember that plants will need more water and feed if they’re grown this way.

Sowing time

May – June.

Crop care

If you’re growing an upright (cordon) variety, tie the stem loosely to the cane, and add ties at 12” intervals as the plant grows. Side shoots will appear where the leaf stalks join the stem. Pinch them out when they are about 1” long. Remove yellowing leaves below fruit trusses as the season progresses, but don’t overdo the de-leafing process. Water regularly in dry weather to keep the soil constantly moist: alternating dryness with flooding will cause blossom end rot or fruit splitting. Feed regularly with a tomato fertiliser. When small tomatoes have developed on the 4th truss (fruiting stem) remove the growing tip 2 leaves above this truss.