Closeup of beefsteak tomatoes

Try Tomato ‘Gourmandia’ F1 Hybrid for gorgeous texture and flavour
Image: Tomato ‘Gourmandia’ F1 Hybrid from Thompson & Morgan

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. 

This article was reviewed by the T&M horticultural team and updated on 23 January 2024.

Germinate your tomato seeds indoors

Sowing tomato seeds in yoghurt pot

Start tomatoes seeds off in repurposed yoghurt pots 
Image: @leyla.kazim

Are you new to vegetable growing? BBC Radio 4 presenter and digital creator Leyla Kazim explains that you don’t need a huge garden to grow your own tomatoes – a few containers will do. Check out Leyla’s fantastic YouTube video demonstrating how to sow tomato seeds in a clean yoghurt pot. Episode 5 of her fantastic #PotToPickle series, these back-to-basics video tutorials take you right through the growing season from seed sowing to preserving your harvest.

Use a grow light to get tomato seeds off to a strong start

Tomato seedlings under grow light

Providing LED light helps get your seedlings off to a strong start
Image: 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. Read her full article for help with growing tomatoes in cooler areas with low-light.

Gently prick your tomato seedlings out by holding a leaf

Pricking out tomato seedlings

Move seedlings into bigger pots after germination
Image: Claire’s Allotment

If you want help pricking out your tomato seedlings, watch Claire’s excellent video over at 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.

Plant your tomato seedlings deeply for strong roots

Growing tomatoes in pots

Tender young tomatoes should be moved outside for short periods to harden them off
Image: Jane Perrone

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, Jane explains that tomatoes have bumps on the stem which will turn into roots below the soil level if you plant them nice and deep. With more than a decade of growing tomatoes under her belt, Jane’s straightforward advice is particularly useful for those who don’t have a greenhouse.

Plant leggy seedlings horizontally

Planting tomato seedlings horizontally

Plant leggy tomatoes horizontally for strong root growth along the stem
Image: @snewland97

Are your tomato seedlings are a bit leggy? For quick results, Steve from @snewland97 recommends planting them horizontally, rather than deeply. In a little over a week you’ll get “amazing root growth along the buried stem and can plant them out into a final position very easily,” he says. Follow this tomato guru on Instagram for variety advice, growing tips and more.

Establish a regular watering schedule for the best tomatoes

Tomatoes in pots covered by straw

Plant tomatoes in pots to improve water retention in the rootball
Image: The Sunday Gardener

Under-watering is the number one cause of most tomato problems, says Carol Bartlett, aka The Sunday Gardener. Amongst her top tips for successful tomato growing, she says that regular watering is the most important. Her full article also explains that splashing your tomatoes while watering can lead to fungal diseases like blight. For practical pointers and tomato troubleshooting advice, this is the place to come.

Water the roots using a homemade funnel

Basket of mini tomatoes

Water your tomatoes often for a healthy crop
Image: Tomato ‘Tumbling Tom Red’ from Thompson & Morgan

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.

Support your tomatoes using a post and wire system

Tomato training wire

Support outdoor tomatoes with wires to prevent delicate stems from snapping
Image: Grow With Kit

If you’re growing your tomatoes outside, you’ll need a way to prevent the stems from snapping in the wind. Kit Quint from Grow with Kit demonstrates a foolproof method for making a strong outdoor 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.

Choose grafted tomato plants for extra high yields

Tomato growing in a greenhouse

Healthy tomato plants produce long trusses of fruit
Image: Tony C Smith

I bet there are 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.

Remove side shoots regularly to encourage more fruits

Person holding handful of tomatoes

Plump ripe tomatoes picked fresh from the vine
Image: Tomato ‘Romello’ F1 Hybrid from Thompson & Morgan

The best way I’ve heard side shooting described is to stand on your head, and imagine something growing out of your armpit,” writes Pete from Real Men Sow. 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. Find all seven of his tomato growing tips in the full article.

Tomato sweetness can be scientifically measured

Tomato trials on table

Flavour grading is an important part of tomato fruit trials
Image: 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 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.

Remove larger leaves to help outdoor toms ripen

Tomato cordon no leaves

Removing large leaves from cordon tomatoes reduces shading and improves fruit ripening
Image: 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.

Extend the tomato season with a heated greenhouse

Tomato growing in greenhouse in winter

Use a heated greenhouse to extend your tomato crop into winter
Image: @greggrowsuk

Would you still like to be picking your own homegrown tomatoes in December? Check out Instagrammer Greg Holton’s post over at @greggrowsuk 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’.

Cherry tomatoes are ideal for containers

Closeup of cherry tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are a good option for fast ripening fruit
Image: 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.

Some tomatoes are perfect in hanging baskets

Tomato hanging basket in conservatory

Some tomatoes can be grown in hanging baskets
Image: Shutterstock

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.

Consult a tomato selector guide to find the best varieties

Closeup of ripening tomatoes

Supersweet Tomato ‘Sungold’ produces delicious cherry type fruit
Image: Tomato ‘Sungold’ F1 Hybrid by Thompson & Morgan

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.

Try ‘Sungold’ to avoid tomato mosaic virus

Vine of ripening 'Sungold' tomatoes

Tomato ‘Sungold’ is a cordon variety that needs support
Image: Pumpkin Beth

Tomato ‘Sungold’ is an F1 hybrid 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. Visit her website for independent, honest reviews of many different tomato varieties. Beth’s scientific approach will help you successfully grow and care for your own juicy tomato crops.

Ripen green tomatoes using bananas

Tomatoes in bowl with bananas

Put a ripe banana next to green tomatoes to turn them red
Image: @themanfromthesham

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 grid for more great home-growing advice and inspiration. This is the place to come for family-orientated gardening with a real sense of fun.

Preserve your tomatoes for all year round use

Woman holding preserved tomatoes in a jar

Preserve gluts of tomatoes to enjoy through the winter
Image: @camillascountryliving

If, like us, you can’t resist growing so many varieties that you end up with a glut, you’ll love Camilla’s super easy method for preserving tomatoes over at @camillascountryliving. All you need are fresh tomatoes, some clean jars, and a warm oven. Camilla roughly chops the fruits and presses them down into a jar with basil leaves, a clove of garlic, a sprinkle of salt and a glug of olive oil. Watch her short Instagram video for the method, and look forward to delicious jars of summer goodness all winter long. You’ll never have to limit the number of tomatoes you grow again!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of tomato content. Whether you grow your own from tomato seeds or prefer to pop a couple of garden-ready tomato plants into a grow bag for a quick win, home-grown tomatoes are hard to beat. If you’re looking for even more information about growing tomatoes, visit our dedicated hub page.

Expert contributor list

  • Leyla Kazim, BBC presenter, writer and journalist, newsletter writer, digital content creator.
  • Tanya Anderson, award winning author, teacher, and YouTube content creator.
  • Claire Burgess, Gardening writer, blogger, author, YouTuber.
  • Jane Perrone, Houseplant expert, former gardening editor at the Guardian.
  • Carol Bartlett, Gardening blogger and content creator.
  • John Harrison, Allotment blogger, winner of Grow Your Own’s ‘Great British Growing Awards’ 2015, author and garden writer.
  • Kit Quint, Gardening YouTuber.
  • Tony C Smith, Gardening YouTuber, No dig allotmenteer
  • Pete, Gardening blogger, new caretaker of the ‘Real Men Sow’ blog.
  • Michelle Chapman writer, blogger and author of the award winning Veg Plotting blog.
  • CJ, Gardening blogger.
  • Greg Holton, Suburban gardening influencer.
  • Mark Ridsdill Smith, Urban Gardener writer, author. Winner of 2022’s GMG The Peter Seabrook Practical Book of the Year.
  • Chris Lee, Gardening writer and nature enthusiast, guest writer for Horticulture Magazine.
  • Sue Sanderson, BSc. (Hons) degree in horticulture, e-Commerce Horticultural Executive at Thompson & Morgan.
  • Beth Otway, Horticulturist, garden writer.
  • @themanfromthesham, Gardening influencer.
  • Camilla Fredriksen, Gardening blogger, influencer.
  • Steve Newland, Gardening influencer

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