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Discover the Tomato

Here’s the chance for you to discover some of the basic facts about the Tomato as well as some essential growing tips. Use these to decide whether you want to grow the vegetable, whether you are able to and what you need to do or look out for in order to grow a bountiful crop!

Tomato Fact Sheet
Other names: Lycopersicon esculentum
Popular varieties: From cherry tomatoes to giant beefsteaks
Interesting fact: Became popular in France during the French Revolution as the revolutionaries wore this colour and eating red coloured food was a show of loyalty.
Nutritional value: Valuable minerals; vitamins A & C
When to grow: Early summer for outdoor growth
Grown from: Seed that is sown in a pot or tray
Likes: Warm, sunny & sheltered spot; hot days and cool nights; free-draining fertile soil; being in growbags or large containers and growing up support stakes; regular watering; plenty of weeding; tomato fertilizer
Dislikes: Frost; fluctuations between wet & dry; snails, slugs and caterpillars
Harvest time: 8 weeks after planting when they are fully ripe – the green colour changes to red or orange
Watch out for: Blackened colour; splitting fruit; remove yellowing leaves; diseased plants should be removed to avoid spreading infection;
Cooking tips: Eat on its own; salads, sandwiches; cook with fish, meat, beans, curry, stew or as a sauce; drink as a juice
Tomatoes can be grown in greenhouses, on windowsills, in hanging baskets, containers or out in the garden.
Essential Growing Tips for Tomatoes
> There are lots of different types. Choose your tomatoes carefully. Trailing varieties work well in hanging baskets and containers. Bush tomatoes suit all locations except hanging baskets. Cordon varieties need supporting by stakes and work very well in greenhouses and grow bags.
> Scatter seed thinly on the surface of the compost. Cover lightly with compost. Water in. Cover with cling film or put into a plastic bag and fasten.
> Place in a warm spot where the temperature is between 60°-65°F or 15°-18°C. The first leaves to appear are the seedling leaves, the next ones are the true leaves.
> When these true leaves appear, carefully repot the seedlings into individual 7cm pots.
> Bush tomatoes and trailing varieties need little further attention. Let them grow, and repot into larger pots whenever the roots start coming out of the bottom of the pot. They can be planted into the garden when all danger from frosts has passed. Bush tomatoes should be placed 38-45cm (15”-18”) apart.
> Cordon tomatoes need more care. When planting, place them 45-60cm (18”-24”) apart. These tomatoes grow tall and the stems need supporting. They need to be firmly staked and stems should be tied onto the stakes. At mid summer pinch out the top of the main stem. This will stop the plant growing taller and encourage fruit to form. Sideshoots should be broken off when they appear.
> To protect against the slugs we recommend doing so organically with biological Nemaslug pest control. Nemaslug contains nematodes that are tiny microbes which have to be watered into the soil and attack the young slugs as they grow.
> Tomatoes are very hungry plants. They need feeding regularly, and should not be allowed to dry out. Keep them well watered. When growing in a growbag we recommend using growpot watering pots or a plant halo system – both sit in growbags and both direct water efficiently to the plants.
> Harvest fruit as soon as it is ripe.

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