Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Self Watering Planters

There are two self watering planters that are really worth considering:
  1. The Oasesbox
  2. The Quadgrow Planter
Each has its pros and cons but both are excellent for growing tomatoes and other fruit and vegetables that need the best care and attention.

Oasesbox Self Watering Planter

The benefit of a self watering planter is obvious - it doesn't need watering and feeding every day. Furthermore, because plants have access to water and nutrients 24/7, they are able to take in moisture and feed when they need it.

This keeps them from becoming stressed, especially in hot weather when soil runs dry and avoid nutrient deficiency problems such as Blossom End Rot.

Another great benefit of a self watering planter is that we can go on holiday knowing that our plants are taken care of. Considering all the effort that goes in to our plants, it is a price worth paying!

For more information about self watering planters, especially those suitable for growing tomatoes, please visit the link.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Containers for Tomatoes - Surface Area

In the UK we usually grow our tomatoes in containers.

There are many different shapes and sizes of container for tomato growing, each having its own pros and cons. For example, grow bags are great for tall varieties and have a large surface area for oxygen absorption by surface roots.
The disadvantage with such a large surface area and shallow depth of soil is that soil or compost dries out quickly.

A high sided pot is great for trailing tomatoes to tumble over the sides, keeping the tomatoes off the ground. However, it has a much smaller surface area than a grow bag so to optimize a tall pot, adding perlite or vermiculite can be useful in getting air down into the root area.

For more information about growing tomatoes in containers.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Tomato Sowing Quick Start Guide

If you are new to growing tomatoes, it's a good idea to know the best time to sow in your part of the world to get the best results.

There are a lot of different tomato varieties which need the right container or position.

For example, tall tomato plants do well in grow bags, tumbler type tomatoes are great for hanging baskets and tall sided pots/containers. Dwarf bush varieties do very well on the kitchen windowsill.

Seed starter kits are a good way to begin!

  • When to sow
  • Choosing the right variety for the location
  • How to sow
For more information about getting started sowing and growing tomatoes, go here.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Various Media For Sowing Tomato Seeds

Usually, tomato seeds are sown in seed compost but there are a number of other ways to sow tomato seeds that may be more convenient and a lot less messy than using compost.

Rockwool, sponges and Jiffy Pellets are great for sowing tomato seeds.
There are a number of advantages by using each of these media.
  • Less messy
  • No pricking out
  • Better moisture and air holding capacity than most seed compost
  • Potted on without disturbing roots
Seedlings are potted on with the cube, sponge or pellet so there is no root disturbance and they can be potted into potting compost, rockwool or any suitable media for growing tomatoes.

More information about these sowing media here.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Technical Tomato Articles

At this time of the season, it's good to get back into the groove and learn a few new facts about growing tomatoes or remind ourselves of the stuff we have forgotten!

The truth is, tomato growing can be as easy or as complicated as we want to make it but there is always an advantage in knowledge - even if we decide to disregard it from time to time.

Here are a few technical articles that I have found useful in getting the best from my crop - perhaps it may do the same for you. Technical Tomato Articles.

Guttation - drops of water on leaf edges.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

When To Sow Tomato Seeds

The short answer is eight to ten weeks before your last frost - but why do we sow at this time?

Sowing tomato seeds at the right time can help avoid a number of problems that are caused by low light levels.

Leggy tomato plants
Sowing too early means that plants struggle through shorter days, and in their search for more light, become leggy.

Leggy tomato plants with thin stems will produce fewer tomatoes, so it's important to grow healthy stocky seedlings and young plants if you want a good crop.

Fewer flower buds
The other issue with low light levels is the amount of flower buds that are encouraged by light. Less light means fewer flowers and eventually tomatoes.

In conclusion
It is true that a plant sown a little later in the spring can catch up and do better than a plant sown earlier that has had to struggle through short days and cooler temperatures.

Of course, with grow lights and correct temperatures, tomatoes can be sown and grown any time of the year!

More information on when to sow and how to sow tomato seeds.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Choosing Tomato Seeds 2018

It's an exciting time when choosing tomato seeds for the coming season.

Should I stick with the regular varieties that I grow every summer, or try one or two new ones?

Wet Summers Ahead

It seems that we are in a phase of wet summers in the UK which means that tomato blight is an issue. The good news is that there are blight resistant varieties available that can cope with a wet summer.

These include:
  • Crimson Crush F1
  • Lizzano F1
  • Mountain Magic F1

Blight resistant tomato varieties

The F1 means that they are a first generation cross between two varieties that have been used for their special qualities. In this particular case, they have been bred to resist tomato blight.

Find out more about blight resistant tomato seeds here.

Non Blight Resistant Varieties

Black Opal, Black Cherry and Rosella are three great tasting black purple cherry tomatoes that are well worth growing for their sweet flavour.

Then their are the old favourites in the UK which include Moneymaker, Alicante, Shirley and Gardener's Delight. These have been grown for many years and remain popular because of their reliable performance and very good taste.

Whatever seed varieties you choose this summer, if you are growing outside, I recommend at least one blight resistant variety.

More about choosing tomato seeds here.