Garden And Gardener

Everything for the Gardener and their Garden

Tomato harvest

Monday, October 10th, 2016

I’ve had a good year for the greenhouse tomatoes. The outdoor ones succumbed to blight rather quickly, and although the sungold lasted a bit longer than the big tomatoes, they too went over very quickly.
homegrown tomatoes

I’ve left the plants there as there are some ripening still, with some green ones. I will leave them a little longer, but it’s getting cold at night now. I’ve shut the greenhouse door now to try and conserve the heat of the day.

My plan for winter will be to empty the greenhouse of all plant material, wash the glass and then add some muck to the beds. I might dig out some of the dry dusty material and make sure it’s packed with muck. The muck then gets to rot down before spring when it’s time to replant the greenhouse.

Not just red tomatoes

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

The sunshine – or lack of it – has finally allowed two of my tomatoes to start turning colour properly.

I’ve been inspired to post because of this blog article which has pictures of non-red tomatoes!
It’s a nice blog too – so worth a read!

Potting up tomatoes

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

The way I grow tomatoes is to start them in a small seed tray and then pot them up when they get big enough to handle – but only into small pots – not their final ones. It’s fairly easy to pot them up if you’re gentle with them you should have 100% success.
When it’s time to put them into bigger pots you can tell as you’ll notice little white roots sticking out of the bottom of the pot.

Start off by getting your tomatoes watered. I think it’s easier to get them out of the pots if they’ve had a drink first!
Get your grow bag material and if you’re using one the container you’ll be using. Some people put a growbag with a collar in their greenhouse and plant into the collar. You need to put extra grow bag material into the collar section.
Potting up tomatoes
What I do though is get some decent size plastic tubs and make sure they’ve got good drainage. A small drill bit is your friend here if there’s no drainage or not enough. Drill lots of holes – at least 6 in the lowest part of the base.

Get your sack of growbag material ready. I tip mine into a large plant pot as it makes it easier for me to do. You might want to tip your growbag into the pots themselves – it’s entirely up to you how comfortable you are lugging great bags about.

Fill the container almost to the right level and make a hollow space in the middle.

Next take your tomato plant and tilt it to the side and gently squeeze the sides of the pot. If it doesn’t start moving then rotate it 90′ and squeeze the other sides of the pot. Don’t tip it upside down and shake though!

Tomato plant out of pot
Once the tomato plant is out you’ll see all the little roots. Avoid damaging these and don’t break the stem!

Gently hold the plant and turn it and put it into the prepared pot. Make sure it’s sat level and then start filling in around it. Add soil up to the level of the first two leaves. The tomato stems are good at putting out roots and will develop roots in this section of stem and make it more stable.
Filling the pot
After you’ve filled it press down gently to make sure it’s bedded in well. You should give it a water and put it in it’s final place.

Tomatoes need plenty of looking after – you certainly need to attend to them every other day as a minimum and you’re best checking on them everyday. In very hot weather they need to be watered a lot too. Feed tomatoes once a week once they start producing fruit.
There’s lots of advice about pruning leaves and shoots off to make sure the plant puts enough energy into growing the right amount of fruit. Nip out the little side shoots with your thumb – I’ll add photos of these as my own tomatoes grow.

Growing tomatoes

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Tomato seedlingYou can grow tomatoes from seed like I’m doing – or you can buy the plants ready grown and ready to go into the greenhouse. It is less effort buying the plants but seeds are fairly cheap and as long as they don’t die from frost they should be ok.
A problem with growing from seed – well for me anyway, is being pessemistic about how many seeds will come through. Virtually all the tomato seeds I’ve planted this year have come up – so now I’ve got 20 plants in my greenhouse. This is nice in a way as I’ll have plenty of tomatoes to use, but also means I’ll need some extra tomato food!

I can recommend unwins for buying plants from. They’ve got a great choice of greenhouse plants from different types of tomatoes, peppers, chilis and Aubergine plants.
Buy greenhouse plants online at Unwins

The tomato seedling in the picture is of a plum tomato called San Marzano. The true shape of the tomato leaf is now showing – contrasting with the smooth leaf shape of the first two seed leaves.
It’s always worth bearing in mind you can buy plants in case you have a disaster in the greenhouse!

Tomato, Rocket and beans

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Tomato SeedlingToday I was pleased to find the tomatoes I’d potted on were fine. They’d looked really wilted yesterday and for a while I thought I’d killed them… but not yet!
I’ve even labelled them which was impressive for me. Only by numbers though – but I do have a list of the tomatoes I’m growing somewhere… and as soon as I find it I’ll share!

Rocket seedlingsThe rocket is coming on nicely too – starting to look really healthy. It’s quite peppery to eat but nice! It’s one of those pick and pick again crops that are handy to have. It’s quite dear if you buy it from the supermarket – so you can easily match one packet of seed up against the price of a bag of the stuff and then you’ll get tons more than that. It should be planted outside but I’ve not got anywhere for it yet.The garden transformation is taking longer than expected. We’ve found yet more rocks from the old path and have a huge pile! I’ve put them on ebay!

Two types of bean seedlingI’ve got some beans in little plant pots and I can now tell they’re too different types!
I love beans and they’re so nice fresh – much better than getting them from the supermarket too!
They’re fairly easy to grow – the biggest problem we had last year on the allotment was the slugs. I’ve got some nemosluf killer on it’s way this year though so there won’t be a slug problem in the garden!

In my garden today

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

I’ve been clearing away the privet cuttings from shortening the hedge. A bold move taking a foot and a bit off the height, but we get more light in the late afternoons as a result which is good!

I’ve potted out my tomatoes – there’ll be a picture of them tomorrow – and a picture of my greenhouse heater. It’s an old one that I’ve got hold of. It takes paraffin and we’ve been outside lighting it so the delicate seedlings stay toasty warm all night. That’s the plan anyway!
The basil is coming through and the rocket is doing well too! The beans are looking good!

After I’d potted up the tomatoes a couple looked really wilted and dead – but this evening they look fine, so fingers crossed they’ll do well. I’ve got four types of tomatoes this year – some normal ones, some plum ones, cherry tomatoes and some giant ones. It’ll be interesting to see the differences.

Apart from a little watering of plants in pots waiting for their space to be dug over, I’ve done virtually nothing else. I did some weed killing, but that was very effortfree – see my post about roundup! I do have some stray raspberries to clear tomorrow – shoots appearing in the front lawn!

Tomato growing

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

I’m not an expert on tomatoes. This is my first time growing them – I have seen them grown when I was a kid at my gran’s greenhouse and have fond memories of the hours spent messing in there with the plants, but I wasn’t allowed to touch the tomatoes.

I got 4 plants off Frank at the allotment and went wild and planted a few seeds at home too. I’ve reared 7 plants myself and these are in big tubs too at the allotment now. The ones from Frank though are getting quite tall and one has started setting fruit.


There it is! The tomatoes are tiny and green at the moment but I hope they’ll soon be red and delicious!

The mess in the background is the anti-rock measure we need on our allotment site due to youths loving the sound of breaking glass.

Most of my tomatoes are gardener’s delight – a favourite amongst everyone on the allotment plot apart from Hazel who loves to grow heritage tomatoes for something a bit different!

I think there’s a lot to be said for buying different seeds from what you normally eat – for instance – it’s not too late to buy some of these tomatoes Tomato Tomazing™ at Thompson and Morgan

They’re deliciously sweet cherry tomatoes – now I adore cherry toms but they’re usually quite dear, especially if you’re making a big salad with them, so it is a good plan to think about what things you’d appreciate in the kitchen!

I know our tomatoes are going to be enjoyed – but what if you don’t have a greenhouse – buying the plants now and perhaps having a hanging basket with some of these in would do the trick! Tomato Tasty Tumbler

Think how little space a couple of hanging baskets take up – and how almost everyone has room for some!

Tomatoes seem to be fairly easy up til now – water regularly, pot up into either large pots or directly into the border of the greenhouse and from now on feed once a week. And pinch out the side shoots. If you miss them when they’re tiny then cut them off. You can do it with your thumbnail when they’re tiny but if they’ve got too big you’ll have to cut them with a knife or cutters.

Not experienced any pests or problems yet, but I’ll be having a read up on this this week to see what I should be looking out for!

Hot weather and the allotment

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

When it’s as hot as it is today there’s a few jobs that definately need doing.

Watering newly planted seeds, and plants that are developing fruit need lots of regular water. Potatoes that are growing need plenty of water too – so don’t forget them!

Hoeing the weeds away when it’s this hot is really effective. The poor things shrivel up and die in the sun – so it’s well worth spending some time doing this where you can.

Chickweed seems to be especially active this year and is everywhere. Several plot holders are blaming it on it being in the compost from last year and are refusing to compost it this year. Old timer Percy is quite happy to accept all compost material donations though – the bigger the heap and the faster it’s put together the more heat it generates and should kill all the seeds.

We’ve filled one side of our double compost bin already. Partly through some old uncomposted stuff being put back in and all the new lovely weeds.

Watered the tomatoes today as usual and added some plant food to the watering can. They’re doing really well – the initial four plants and the extra ones are coming on pretty well too.
We planted out about half the leeks – they were as fat as pencils and getting far too tall so we decided to put them out now. We dibbed holes 5-6 inches deep and put the leeks in. They’d been in pots of compost so we rinsed most of this off to get them into the hole – the book I’d read said nothing about this – but seemed to think you’d just have roots (as did the man on gardeners world!). I’ve not trimmed the roots or tops of them – my book says this old way isn’t really needed.

I also planted out the cucumber plant – I’ve only got one as I know we don’t eat a lot of them. It’s pickling type which should be ok for salads peeled (they’re a bit spiney apparently) and good for pickling! I adore pickles so am looking forward to doing these.

The onions are coming on nicely. Weeded them again today and they’re nearly clear of chickweed. I have very much learnt the need to put them in very straight rows as it makes hoeing so much easier.

A word of advice – wear a hat in such hot weather! and you should put on sunscreen too!