I potted up the tomatoes last weekend as they were getting a little big, although they are all still in the greenhouse waiting for the final frosts before I move half outside. This year I am growing:
In Greenhouse – ‘Brandywine’ x 2, ‘Tigerella’ x 2
Outside – ‘Sungold’ x 2, ‘San Marzone’ x 2
As mentioned in an earlier post, I lost most of my crop last year to a late frost and ended up buying this replacement of seedlings from Sarah Raven and they were fantastic. I couldn’t throw any away and with the few of my own that survived the frosts I ended up with 13 plants – yes 13!! There was a lot of tomato sauce, pizza sauce, sweet relish etc made, believe me.
I start my tomatoes in February in the house. We are lucky to have glass for two walls of our kitchen so this allows for lots of light and an early sowing. I sometimes plant them in jiffy 7’s but this year I used small pots. I then move them up into larger pots and plant them deeper, up to the first leaves (the seed leaves) so they can form more roots. I brave moving them to the greenhouse (unheated) quite early but keep them covered with small cloches and keep an eye on the weather.
Finally (around the end of April) I pot them up into buckets or large pots with John Innes No 3 compost. They are already quite big now and although I haven’t started tying them in, the canes are in place for support and they have been potted into their final buckets. I have started to pinch out the side shoots (which form between the stems at an angle) to stop the plants using up extra energy. Once they form their first flower trusses I will feed them with a tomato fertilizer once a week and I will tie them onto the cane as they grow.
After they have formed about 5 or 6 trusses of flowers I will pinch out the top to stop them growing any further and give the fruit that forms a better chance. Then we will have a plentiful supply of tomatoes for most of the summer.