Do you want to grow your own fresh tomatoes? Here’s a collection of the best online content to get you started and refine your technique. From sowing and germinating tomato seeds through to dealing with a glut, this comprehensive mix of expert content includes articles, how-to videos and Instagram posts to help you grow your own bumper crop of sweet and juicy tomatoes, whether you have a greenhouse or not.
Leyla Kazim – The Cutlery Chronicles
Are you new to urban vegetable growing? BBC Radio 4 presenter and digital creator Leyla Kazim demonstrates that you don’t even need a garden to grow your own tomatoes. Check out Leyla’s fantastic video ‘How to Sow & Germinate Tomato Seeds’ on her YouTube Channel or Instagram feed, where she demonstrates how to repurpose yoghurt pots and milk bottles to make the perfect indoor growing equipment. This video is Episode 5 of #PotToPickle, Leyla’s brand new series of grow-a-long, back-to-basics video tutorials for the novice urban vegetable grower, taking followers right through the growing season from seed sowing to preserving their bounty, and where everything is grown in pots. You can also find Leyla on Twitter and at her blog thecutlerychronicles.com
“Tomato ‘Sungold’ is an F1 hybrid that..is a deservedly popular and much loved tomato,” says Beth, the voice behind the superb blog Pumpkin Beth. Developed in Japan, this “sunshine orange coloured cherry tomato, with a super sweet, tangy flavour” is known for its resistance to Tomato Mosaic Virus and Fusarium Wilt, she explains. For independent, honest reviews of many different tomato varieties, Beth’s scientific approach to growing this delicious fruit will help you successfully grow and care for your own juicy tomato crops.
Tanya – Lovely Greens
Don’t let low light levels put you off sowing tomato seed. Tanya of Lovely Greens uses a grow light in her home on the Isle of Man. Where she lives, the temperatures remain relatively mild in the summer, meaning that “leafy greens love it but heat-loving plants like tomatoes struggle.” Despite this, Tanya still manages to produce beautiful crops of juicy, fresh fruit. Her article ‘Growing Tomatoes from Seed: Sowing times, compost, and instructions’ has plenty of tips if you’re also trying to grow tomatoes in a cool, low-light part of the country.
Claire Burgess – Claire’s Allotment
If you want help with ‘Pricking out Tomato seedlings’, Claire has an excellent video at her YouTube channel Claire’s Allotment. In clear detail, she shows what to do with seedlings once they get to about three weeks old. “Make sure they don’t get any higher than about an inch and a half to two inches” before you prick them out, she says, and gently lift each one by a leaf before popping it straight into a deep hole in a 3 inch pot of compost.
“Make sure you plant the seedlings out deeply – I usually plant to the depth of the first leaf, which I remove – as this helps a strong root system to develop” says Jane at her eponymous website Jane Perrone. In her article ‘Growing Tomatoes Outdoors – My Top Tips’, Jane explains that tomatoes have bumps on the stem which will turn into roots below the soil level and this is why they need to be planted so deeply. With thirteen years of growing tomatoes under her belt, Jane’s straightforward advice is particularly useful for those who don’t have a greenhouse.
Carol Bartlett – The Sunday Gardener
Under watering is the number one cause of most tomato problems, says Carol Bartlett, aka The Sunday Gardener. Of her five top tips for successful tomato growing, she says that regular watering is the most important. Her article, ‘More about Growing Tomatoes’, also explains that splashing your tomatoes while watering can lead to fungal diseases like Halo Blight. For practical pointers and tomato troubleshooting advice, this is the place to come.
John Harrison – Allotment & Gardens
A repurposed plastic bottle is the perfect tool for watering tomatoes, says John Harrison of Allotment & Gardens. To try his clever hack: “Cut the base off plastic bottles and insert them, neck end down, by each plant. This delivers the water to the root area.” A simple trick, but it can improve root growth, prevent fruit cracking and reduce risk of fungal infections, says John.
Kit Quint – Grow With Kit
If you’re growing your tomatoes outside, you’ll need a way to prevent the stems from snapping in the wind. Follow Kit, the gardener behind YouTube channel Grow with Kit, as he demonstrates a foolproof method for ‘Making a Strong Tomato Trellis’. His top tip? Thread horizontal pairs of steel wires at regular intervals between strong posts and, as your tomato plant grows, feed it between the wires to help support the stem. And if you want to know how to prune your beefsteak tomatoes for the best crop, Kit’s video is super helpful.
Tony C Smith
“I bet there’s about 50 tomatoes on this one truss!” says Tony at his YouTube channel Tony C Smith. If you’re deciding whether to buy grafted tomato plants this year, you’ll enjoy watching his video where he compares the yields from grafted tomato plants with those he grew himself from seed. Having been deeply disappointed with his grafted plants when they first arrived, they’ve quickly stormed ahead to become impressive specimens. With plenty of experience to share, Tony’s engaging style is really watchable.
Pete & Jono – Real Men Sow
“The best way I’ve heard side shooting described is to stand on your head, and imagine something growing out of your armpit” writes Jono, the original creator of blog Real Men Sow which has since been taken over by Pete. And once you’ve identified the side shoots correctly, they need to be removed so that your plant can put all of its energy into producing plump fruit. For ‘Seven Tomato Growing Tips’ visit Real Men Sow.
Naomi Schillinger – Out of my shed
Do you have a favourite tomato variety? Over at Out of my Shed, Naomi says: “I’m planning on growing 9 different varieties, some old favourites and some gorgeous looking new (to me) varieties to find out which [ones] I enjoy the most.” If you want to try a new tomato variety, head to Naomi’s engaging article for tips on the sweetest and most visually appealing toms to grow this summer. Spoiler alert! ‘Sungold’ is Naomi’s cherry tomato of choice. She says it “never disappoints.”
Michelle Chapman – Veg Plotting
Have you ever heard of a Brix refractometer? According to Michelle Chapman of award-winning blog Veg Plotting, it turns out that a refractometer is a device used to grade sweetness. After taking part in T&M’s fascinating tomato trials, Michelle shares behind-the-scenes info about how new tomato varieties are graded for flavour. But the truth is in the eating, says Michelle, who sampled a lot of new varieties over the course of the day: “As with wine tasting, the bottles of water and crackers you can see were much needed accessories to stop our palates becoming jaded.”
CJ – Above the River
Don’t have a greenhouse? Don’t worry. Read up on blogger CJ’s method for growing tomatoes outside. CJ is the voice behind the charismatic blog Above the River and she gets a beautiful crop from her outdoor tomato plants, no greenhouse necessary. A top tip from CJ – when your trusses have set and you’re waiting for the fruit to ripen, remove some of the large leaves to allow lots of sunlight in. Check out the rest of her article for warm, down-to-earth advice for successful outdoor tomato growing.
Greg Holton – @greggrowsuk
Would you still like to be picking your own homegrown tomatoes in December? Check out Instagrammer Greg Holton’s post to see how he uses a heated greenhouse to extend the season and produce a juicy tomato crop in winter. He says it’s “hard to believe our first tomato was picked nearly six months ago and that we will be starting to sow next year’s crop in about 6 weeks!” Follow his account for great organic growing tips and a sneak peek into his enviable ‘mediterranean hothouse’.
Richard Chivers – Sharpen Your Spades
Power up your tomato growing with a polytunnel, says blogger Richard of Sharpen your Spades. Richard finds that a polytunnel provides the perfect combination of heat and protection for his tomatoes in windy Wales. But growing tomatoes in containers under cover has its own set of problems, and he recommends feeding your plants with an organic liquid seaweed fertiliser and careful watering. Read Richard’s ‘4 simple tips for growing tomatoes in a polytunnel’ to learn more about this style of greenhouse growing.
Nick Chenhall – Tomato Growing
Over at Tomato Growing, Nick recommends Tomato ‘Gigantomo’® F1 Hybrid in his article ‘Growing Beefsteak Tomatoes’. With 30 years tomato growing experience behind him, Nick knows his stuff when it comes to producing the biggest beefsteaks. The secret of success? “Beefsteak varieties require excellent growing conditions,” he says. For more tips on growing these enormous fruits, this is the place to start.
Mark Ridsdill Smith – Vertical Veg
If you’ve never grown them before, planting a container of sweet cherry tomatoes is the way to go according to Mark Ridsdill Smith, experienced urban vegetable grower and creator of Vertical Veg. “Cherry tomatoes grow and ripen more easily, and will usually give you a better crop [than others].” Growing tomatoes in containers is a great way to produce a large crop from a small space, and Mark shares six top tips to help you succeed. Top tip – try Tomato ‘Balconi Red’ for pots and hanging baskets.
Ray Johnson – Gardening 101
“To speed ripening late in the season, remove the growing tip of each main stem about four weeks before the first expected frost in the autumn” says Ray, creator of Gardening 101. In his article ‘How To Grow Tomatoes In The UK’ he explains why removing the growing tip helps ripen the fruit before the bad weather kicks in. With 25 years experience in the gardening industry, Ray is a font of knowledge and generous with his advice.
Do you always seem to get green tomatoes that refuse to ripen at the end of the summer? Try this tip from Instagrammer, @themanfromthesham who puts his unripe toms into a fruit bowl with bananas to turn them red. He says “bananas release a gas that ripens fruit in close proximity.” Check out the rest of his feed for more great home-growing advice and inspiration. This is the place to come for family-orientated gardening with a real sense of fun.
Matt Peskett – Grow like Grandad
Think you have to chuck those green tomatoes out at the end of the season? Visit Grow like Grandad and read Matt Peskett’s fascinating article about how to ripen green tomatoes using ethylene gas before you give up on unripe fruits. It’s not just bananas that produce this useful gas — “I find plums and kiwis much better ethylene donors for ripening tomatoes inside the home” says Matt.
Katharine Woods – The Tea Break Gardener
Not sure about the difference between cordon and bush tomatoes? If you’re relatively new to growing tomatoes, Katharine, aka The Tea Break Gardener, will help you figure out which are the best tomato varieties to try. The most important distinction, explains Katherine, is that: “determinate or bush tomatoes, grow in a loose or bushy shape and don’t need training, although they may need some support if they get leggy.” Cordon tomatoes, on the other hand, need to grow up canes and the stems will snap if left unsupported. Take a quick look at her video to see how to train cordon tomatoes and get a great outdoor crop.
Sue Sanderson – Thompson & Morgan blog
Over at Thompson & Morgan’s blog, Sue Sanderson says that deciding how you want to eat or cook your tomato is the first step to growing your own. Her useful ‘tomato selector guide’ helps you to narrow down the huge range of different varieties to your specific culinary needs. If you want the best beefsteak to stuff and bake, Tomato ‘Super Marmande’ is an excellent choice, while ‘Sungold’ is perfect for snacking straight from the vine. Head over to her tomato guide for at-a-glance advice.
Chris Lee – Horticulture
If you’re restricted to a balcony you can still grow your own tomatoes, says Chris Lee from the popular publication, Horticulture Magazine. “Achieve your own tumbling cornucopia of juicy garden goodness” by growing tomatoes in a hanging basket, says Chris, who expertly covers all considerations — from picking the right type of tomato to choosing a suitable basket and caring for your crop. Using your vertical space is a clever way to grow your own.
Mark – Marks Veg Plot
If you’ve got brown shrivelled leaves or dark spots on the stems of your tomato, it could be tomato blight, says blogger Mark Willis over at Marks Veg Plot. According to Mark, the ideal weather conditions for blight are “warm and very humid, with night-time temperatures not much different to day-time ones”. As an experienced tomato grower he’s quick on the uptake if his plants start to show concerning symptoms. Check out Mark’s helpful article to learn how to avoid blight and other ‘tomato problems’.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of the best tomato content from the web. Whether you grow your own from tomato seeds or feel like popping a couple of garden-ready tomato plants into a growbag for a quick win, eating your own sumptuous tomatoes is hard to beat.
If you’re looking for even more information about growing and caring for your tomato plants, take a look at our tomatoes hub page, which links to other T&M resources to help you along the way.
Get in touch via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or tag us at #YourTMGarden if you know of any great tomato content we’ve missed.