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I have a passion for freshly picked tomatoes from the vine. The flesh is considerably more succulent, and far more flavoursome. More importantly, the experience of eating homegrown produce is so much more satisfying than eating a shop-bought tomato straight from the fridge.
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When growing tomatoes in pots, the chances are that you will only be growing a few plants in which case you would probably be better off purchasing pot-grown tomato seedlings from your local plant retailer. Equally so if you intend to grow a number of different cultivars. If more plants are required then consider growing your own tomato plants from seed.
How to grow tomatoes from seed
Tomatoes originated from the South American Andes and as such are not hardy in northern European climates. As such they tomato seeds will need to be sown under protection from March to April so that they are ready to grow outside as soon as the threat of late frosts have passed.
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Water from the base to prevent the seeds from being disturbed and place in a heated propagator with an approximate temperature of between 15-20C. If you do not have a propagator then seal the pots inside a clear polythene bag and place on a warm bright windowsill - but one which does not receive direct sunlight. You can expect germination to occur between 7-14 days, at which point the pots can be removed from the propagator or bag. Maintain bright, frost-free conditions, and once the seedlings are large enough to handle remove the two weakest seedlings.
Growing tomatoes in pots
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Tie the main stem of the plant to a vertical bamboo cane for support or wind it round a tall section of stiff, plastic netting. Water regularly to keep the compost evenly moist, and feed with a specific high potash tomato fertiliser every 10-14 days one once the first fruits start to set.
Remove the side-shoots regularly when they reach about 2.5cm long, and remove any yellowing leaves which occur below developing fruit trusses.
For related articles click onto the following links:
BLIGHT RESISTANT TOMATO SEEDS - Tomato 'Ferline'
BUY TOMATO 'GIGANTOMO' - 8 Seeds
HOW TO GROW TOMATOES IN POTS