From 23rd May – 5th June, celebrate everything tomato during British Tomato Fortnight!
Did you know, approximately a fifth of the tomatoes we eat are grown right here in the UK? And there’s no doubting the delicious taste of a homegrown or local tomato. As well as tasting incredible, the humble tomato is also packed full of amazing health benefits too, from boosting your immune system to helping reduce high blood pressure.
So, with all this in mind, it made sense for me to grow plenty of tomatoes this year. My first-time growing tomatoes from seed, I have chosen five different varieties to try out, each with varying appearances and flavours so I’m really excited to see how they do.
First sown were ‘Moneymaker’, possibly one of the most popular varieties and perfect for beginners. Out of a whole pack sown, I only lost a few and now have approximately 20 plants thriving, all have been potted on a couple of times, and are almost ready for their final position in the greenhouse.
Other varieties I’m trying out include ‘Eight Ball’ (jet black skins), ‘Black Cherry’ (dark, almost black skin with a dark red flesh) and ‘Costoluto Fiorentino (perfect for Italian inspired sauces).
Whilst it’s now too late to sow tomatoes from seed, you should be able to find young plants in your local garden centre or nursery. Don’t forget to check out your local selling sites as lots of people often sell anything they have a glut of!
Tomatoes require plenty of high heat and humidity, which makes them perfect for a greenhouse. If you don’t have a greenhouse – don’t worry. Smaller varieties will grow well on a bright, sunny windowsill, whilst larger types will be happy in a warm area of the garden, either in the ground or a large pot. The more space you give your tomatoes, the more fruit you’ll get.
Once your tomatoes start to grow big and strong, be sure to apply tomato feed to give them all the nutrients they need. Added mulch around the base of the plant will help keep moisture in and protect against disease that may splash up from the soil when watering.
Toms can grow tall, so make sure you support your plants, using canes or cages, as they will grow tall!
Whether you’re growing your own or cooking up a tomato feast, enjoy a tomato filled fortnight!
For more tomato information visit the British Tomato Growers' Association