Tomatoes really are so easy to grow, yet so many make a mess of it and deprive themselves of a rewarding crop that is available fresh for most of the summer, and then available as chutney or pickle for months after!
But of course when tomatoes are grown properly, there are rarely any leftover fruits at the end of summer - other than a few un-ripened green tomatoes. (You could grow a few plants late, to ensure that you have green tomatoes for the chutney, or befriend a professional grower!)
The argument of whether a tomato is fruit or vegetable is not for this page. Botanically it is a fruit; culturally it is normally grown alongside vegetables or in its own little spot in the garden, glasshouse, patio in a growing bag, or on a wall in hanging basket or even a window box. Welcome to the world of growing tomatoes!
There are many reasons for growing tomatoes, but above all, they are one of the most productive crops in terms of picking and eating and are one of the most economical crops to grow in financial terms.
Add in the facts that your own grown tomatoes will taste much better than the supermarket offerings; they really are one of the outstandingly healthy foods; you can pick them and eat them straight off the plant, as is the case with the cherry tomatoes, and there is not too much to stop you growing them.
One of the main problems you will have if growing them from seeds is which variety to choose. There are hundreds! If you want to go for the easier option with your first attempt, then buy young plants from the nursery or garden centre. You will only have a handful of the most popular varieties from which to choose, but they will invariably be the most reliable varieties, because the garden centre will want your trade next year as well!
There is no hard science to growing your own tomatoes from seeds. The main requirement is warmth. Just warmth! Not a sweltering heated greenhouse unless you are going to grow them in the greenhouse. For outdoor planting, sowing ndoors will be suitable, for they are happy to germinate at the same level of heat that we are generally happy to have for ourselves for comfortable living. It is the fact that they are happy at 'our' temperature that causes problems. They are often started far too early when sown indoors.
Yes, they will germinate easily during February, but you then have 2 to 3 months before they can be planted out of doors! During this time you will need to have good growing conditions to ensure you end up with strong, sturdy young plants, ready for the growbag or wherever else you are going to grow them. But trying to grow them to this stage indoors will probably mean that you have spindly plants, struggling to stay upright.
Conditions indoors are rarely suitable for this during the early months of the year. Germination is no problem but then potting and growing into young plants is where most fail. Even if you can provide the heat requirement at a steady 60 or so degrees day and night, you will not be able to provide the light that will be required. Maybe on the windowsill, but then they will be prone to cold snaps, even with double glazed units. The windowsill is the coldest area in the house.
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