Standard Tomato Seeds
Although we believe that the prospect of growing and picking their own delicious tomatoes is one of the main reasons many people invest in a greenhouse, the good news is you do not require one, as the plants will usually do well, even in unpredictable British summers, especially when given a warm sheltered spot, plenty of moisture and good feeding. Seed will, however, need to be started indoors, whether on a warm windowsill, in a propagator or warm greenhouse. We feel a warm kitchen windowsill is as good a place as any to start this rewarding crop. It still surprises us a little just how quickly tomato seedlings grow and the impressive size they reach in just a few weeks.
Determinate varieties are often called 'bush' tomatoes and are usually grown outside rather than in the greenhouse. They have a lax, sprawling habit and can be grown either direct in the soil (a little straw under the ripening fruit will help keep them clean) or in containers. Some have been bred specially for hanging baskets. Fruits tend to be small to medium, but often ripen earlier than varieties bred mainly for greenhouse growing. The plants do not require any help other than watering and feeding.
Indeterminate (cordon) varieties are often called 'greenhouse' tomatoes, but this is a little misleading, as most will also produce a good crop outside in a favourable position. Their growth needs to be controlled by providing the plants with support, either from canes or wires, pinching out sideshoots so energy is not wasted on unnecessary growth, and pinching out the growing tip when fi ve or six trusses (bunches) have set.
How to Sow and Grow Tomatoes
For Indeterminate types grown indoors or outdoors: Fill a tray just a little below full with moist compost. Sow seeds thinly and then cover them with moist compost. Place in a warm environment 15-20°C(60-68°F) and keep moist. Keep seedlings in a light sunny position, but away from the bright sun. When large enough to handle, transplant them individually into small pots of potting compost. Keep in an environment of around 15°C(60°F).
Indoors: When first flowers open transfer into growing bags, large pots or greenhouse borders.
Outdoors: Slowly accustom plants to outside conditions for 2-3 weeks before planting out, ensuring the danger of frost has passed.
Keep plants watered well. When the first fruits start to develop feed them with ideally a tomato fertiliser. Support the main stem of the plant with a cane. Remove side-shoots as they appear. Remove the growing point of each plant once 4-5 trusses (bunches) have formed.
For Determinate types, which grow as outside bushes
Please follow sowing instructions for indeterminate types.
Gradually accustom plants to outside conditions for 2-3 weeks before planting out, after the danger of frost has passed. Allow 60cm(2ft) between plants. Water well and regularly, place some straw under them to prevent rain damage.