We were extremely happy to be selected as a TomTato® trialler for Thompson & Morgan. To grow an innovative and inspiring plant is such a great opportunity and I am here to share the journey with you. When our TomTato® arrived safe and sound I was incredibly excited to begin the growing process. The plant was packaged extremely well for transit and did not suffer from the journey at all. By the following morning he had straightened up and was reaching out for the sunshine.
There was a squash in the cardboard outer at the top from rough handling in transit, but this had no ill effect at all and the container inside was fine. We were quite surprised to see how big the plant was, we were expecting something tiny! A good drink and he immediately flourished, bright green and desperate to grow!
We have planted him in a large tub in an outdoor plastic tent style greenhouse. He looks really healthy and has shot up, and about a week ago we were rewarded with the first flower sprigs appearing. They are now revealing yellow and will be fully fledged flowers very soon. The whole family are following his progress very closely, particularly as my daughter is now starting a growing project at school and having to keep a diary for a sunflower – well homework has got a lot more exciting lately! We will be introducing the class to TomTato® in the coming week or so.
The plant has a great following, particularly at work where I am asked several times a day for progress reports. I have also spoken about him on our international company staff website, where we are holding a gardening forum as part of stress management and relaxing with nature project. Everyone is enthusiastic and amazed, and there is a great interest to see the end results as well as the growing process.
I am keeping a detailed record of everything as we go along, and we are truly thrilled with this amazing plant and thank you for this opportunity to grow with you. No problems at all so far, he is a fantastic high quality plant, really healthy and eager to grow and we are very excited to see his progress!
What to plant in 2014 – Thompson & Morgan’s New Year’s Honours List
With Christmas over and a new year beginning, Thompson & Morgan is looking forward to a bumper year in gardens up and down the country. So what are the hot tips for 2014 in the plant world?
In 1st place – the real ‘must have’ plant for 2014 is Thompson & Morgan’s breeding phenomenon, the fabulous TomTato®. Interest in this amazing innovation has been immense – it’s been featured in the press all around the world. Orders are coming in thick and fast for this fabulous plant which produces tomatoes above ground and potatoes below!
Also featuring significantly in both of Thompson & Morgan’s New Year’s Honours Lists are gardeners’ favourites – begonias. The Big Begonia Revival gets off to a great start with ‘Fragrant Falls Improved’, ‘Lotto Mixed’, Begonia ‘Raspberry Cream’ and ‘Apricot Shades’ all making an appearance in the horticultural honours list.
Thompson & Morgan is predicting a revolution in hanging baskets this summer. Cascading begonias will be leading the way, followed closely by the fabulous petunias ‘Surfinia’, ‘Crazytunia’ and ‘Frills & Spills’. Patio pots and FlowerPouches™ will be in for a treat too; Lobelia ‘T&M’s Choice’, a new and improved mix, exclusive to Thompson & Morgan is so versatile – it works just as well in containers as it does in borders. Gardeners looking for a clematis that really delivers in terms of flower power, should consider Clematis ‘Top to Bottom’. No more bare lower stems with this variety; as the name suggests, it produces flowers all the way up the plant!
Begonia ‘Whopper’ Mixed
Always on the look-out for plants with bigger and better blooms, Thompson & Morgan brings a couple of ‘jumbo’ choices to gardeners looking for some big impact. Begonia ‘Whopper’ and spectacular Giant Flowered Fuchsia are conspicuous in their size compared to regular varieties. They’re also surprisingly good value.
Begonia ‘Apricot Shades Improved’
Thompson & Morgan’s Hot Tips
New and exciting varieties everyone will want in their garden in 2014.
2. Begonia ‘Fragrant Falls Improved’
3. Petunia ‘Crazytunia’ Collection
4. Begonia ‘Raspberry Cream’
5. ‘Tasty Pansy F1’ Collection
6. Penstemon ‘Wedding Bells’
7. Begonia ‘Whopper’ Mixed
8. Clematis ‘Top to Bottom’
9. Begonia ‘Apricot Shades Patio Improved’
10. Petunia ‘Black Night’
Thompson & Morgan’s Hall of Fame
Plants that consistently stand the test of time and are always featured amongst customers’ favourites.
1. Begonia ‘Apricot Shades Improved’
2. New Guinea Impatiens ‘Divine’
3. Giant Flowered Fuchsias
4. Trailing ‘Surfinia’ Petunia
5. Antirrhinum ‘Madame Butterfly’ F1
6. Begonia ‘Lotto Mixed’
7. Geranium ‘T&M’s Choice’
8. Lobelia ‘T&M’s Choice’
9. Petunia ‘Frills & Spills’
10. Tomato Sungold
How to successfully grow your TomTato® plants
We’ve had an amazing amount of interest in our TomTato® plants and news of the new innovation has spread throughout the world!
TomTato® is available to buy from the Thompson & Morgan website, but only to customers in the UK and only as plants. To help you get the best results from your TomTato® plants, we’ve put together a few FAQs with some top advice from our horticultural experts. We recommend bookmarking this page so that you can find it easily when your plants have been delivered.
- Are they resistant to blight?
TomTato® plants have good tolerance to blight. In the last few years of trials, none of the plants in our nursery were affected by blight.
- How do I dig up the potatoes without destroying the tomato plant?
The tomatoes will have finished their harvest period by the time the potatoes are ready to lift. This begins in August and goes through to late September.
- Are the potatoes a maincrop or a late variety?
The potatoes in TomTato® are a late variety. We chose this variety specifically so that the tomatoes are ready to harvest first, allowing you to harvest the two crops independently of each other.
- What type of plant feed should I use?
We recommend using Chempak® Soluble Tomato Food.
- Which compost is best?
Any general multipurpose type will be fine for growing TomTato®.
- How deep should I plant them?
Plant them deep enough to cover the graft point on the plant stem. As the potatoes begin to form, top up the container with soil or earth up the plants if you’re growing them in open ground to stop the potatoes being exposed to sunlight and turning green.
- Is the tomato a bush or cordon variety?
This particular tomato is a cordon variety that grows very quickly. You’ll need to tie the shoots to their support on a regular basis. Removing side shoots each week will also help to keep the plant healthy.
- How many potatoes will each plant grow?
You’ll get approximately 15-20 potatoes from each plant, which is about 2kg.
- What about watering? Tomatoes need a lot, but potatoes don’t.
As tomatoes are very thirsty during the main season (July and August) this will not be a problem – the main thing is not to overwater in the early stages before the tomatoes set fruit. Potatoes usually only suffer if they are developing in the bottom of a damp planter. With the TomTato® plants the potatoes set nearer to the middle and top layer of compost, from where the water will naturally drain.
World exclusive TomTato®
Harvest potatoes AND tomatoes from the same plant
Thompson & Morgan announces another major horticultural breakthrough. Specially hand-grafted plants producing potatoes AND tomatoes are now available to UK home gardeners for the first time.
More than 500 sweet and juicy tomatoes on one plant!
Above the ground – gardeners can pick more than 500 cherry tomatoes with a Brix level of 10.2 – that’s sweeter than supermarket varieties. The fruits also have just the right level of acidity that only the very tastiest tomatoes can boast. They really are delicious.
And that’s not all!
Below the ground – gardeners will find a nice big crop of delicious white potatoes which are incredibly versatile. They can be boiled, mashed, roasted or made into chips.
It sounds incredible, but it’s true. Home gardeners really can grow tomatoes and potatoes on one plant. This concept has been worked on for over 15 years, but this is the first time that plants have been successfully produced commercially. Tomatoes are members of the potato family (Solanaceae) and are therefore naturally compatible with potatoes. Each plant is hand-grafted to create this unique double-cropping feature. There’s no genetic modification – it’s an all-natural and completely safe process.
Above ground – tomatoes, below ground – potatoes
As is the case with all of Thompson & Morgan’s plants, TomTato® is dispatched with full growing instructions. However these are hardly necessary as the plants are so easy to grow. TomTato® can be grown inside or outside, in a large patio pot or 40 litre bag, on the allotment or in the vegetable patch. Thompson & Morgan is expecting huge interest in its innovative new ‘veg plot in a pot’ , so place your order early to be sure to get your hands on these unique plants.
Paul Hansord, T&M’s horticultural director, is understandably excited about bringing TomTato® to UK gardeners: ‘When I first saw this plant, I was amazed! Potatoes and tomatoes on the same plant? You really have to grow TomTato® to believe it’.
Please note that TomTato® plants are only available to UK customers and will be sent out in time for planting in spring 2014.
Find out more about growing TomTato® by watching this tutorial video:
TomTato® – best grown in a 40 litre pot
TomTato® – tomatoes and potatoes on the same plant!
Michael Perry with a TomTato® plant