Grow Top Performing, Tasty Tomatoes!

Growing tomatoes

I just adore growing fruit and vegetables!  Any form of edible gardening is a soul enriching experience, which I would encourage you to try.

‘Orange Wellington’ is a great tasting beefsteak tomato! These tomato ‘Orange Wellington’ fruits are pictured on the 15th September 2018, during my Tomato Trial.

When to sow tomato seeds and plant tomato plants outside?

Last year, I ran a Tomato Trial, to discover delicious, productive, and reliable tomato varieties.  My tomato seeds were sown inside my Access Garden Products Glasshouse in the middle of March.  So, if you’d like to grow tomatoes, you have plenty of time to prepare.  If you don’t have a glasshouse, don’t worry – you could grow your tomato plants on your window sill.  My plants were planted outside in early June, when all risk of frost had passed.

This Tomato ‘Consuelo’ plant was grown in a Haxnicks Vigoroot planter, for my Tomato Trial. This photograph was taken on the 8th September 2018.

Compost for tomatoes

All of my tomato plants that were grown for this Tomato Trial were grown in Dalefoot Composts – the top performing composts in my Compost Trials over the past five consecutive years.  Dalefoot Composts are made with natural materials, including bracken and sheep’s wool, to create a nutrient rich, water retentive compost, which holds on to water longer than any of the other composts I have trialled.

Tomato ‘Shimmer’ has a silky texture and a sweet flavour, without any acidity. Tomato ‘Shimmer’ pictured on the 19th September 2018, during my Tomato Trial.

My outside tap and all of my watering systems broke, one after the other, last year!  During this time, I was away from home for a week.  The fact that all of my tomato plants survived a week of scorching hot weather, inside my glasshouse, without any watering whatsoever, whilst I was away, is testament to how water retentive Dalefoot Composts are!  At the time my tomato plants were all planted in regular, small, plastic containers, without any self-watering capabilities or water reserves.

Since I ran this particular Tomato Trial, I’ve now trialled Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes with fantastic results!  I’d recommend this organic compost.

Tomato fertiliser

I didn’t use any fertiliser or feed during my Tomato Trial, my tomato plants received sufficient nutrients from the Dalefoot Composts they were grown in.

Growing tomatoes in containers or in the ground?

For this Tomato Trial, I trialled growing my tomato plants in Haxnicks Vigoroot Potato/Tomato Planters, in plastic containers, and in the ground.  Of the two container types, the Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters produced more productive plants in 12 out of the 15 tomato varieties trialled.

This Tomato ‘Cherry Baby’ plant was grown directly in the soil, for my Tomato Trial. Pictured on the 19th September 2018.

Supporting tomato plants

I supported my tomato plants with lengths of twine tied to an overhead support system, I find this to be a simple but effective method.  Sadly, the twine I used was prone to snapping unexpectedly, leaving my plants requiring urgent attention – I’d recommend that you use a good quality twine, if you plan to support your tomato plants in a similar manner.  (NB. Following on from this Tomato Trial, so that I could avoid encountering annoying problems with inferior quality twine again, I ran a Twine Trial to find strong, durable, lasting twines that were able to support my tomato plants and perform any garden tasks.  Here’s a link to my Twine Trial.)

Tomato ‘Honeycomb’ plants produce small cherry tomatoes. These ‘Honeycomb’ tomatoes are pictured on the 15th September 2018, during my Tomato Trial.

Best tasting tomatoes

Last year, I trialled a range of tomato types: cherry, cocktail, salad, and beefsteak.  Of these, my favourite tasting tomato varieties from my Tomato Trial were: Tomato ‘Honeycomb’, a delicious, small cherry tomato with an intensely sweet, fruity flavour and a great balance of acidity.  Tomato ‘Cherry Baby’, a variety that produces small, tangy tomatoes.  Tomato ‘Consuelo’ is a cherry tomato with a slightly sharper flavour.  Tomato ‘Shimmer’ is a small plum tomato, just slightly larger than a cherry tomato, with silky smooth flesh and a sweet, mellow flavour, without any acidity.  Tomato ‘Orange Wellington’ is a beefsteak tomato, which produces large, juicy fruits with a soft, melting texture and a delicate, rounded flavour.

This article was first published in the February 2019 edition of Vantage Point Magazine.

For gardening advice for February, please click here.

For gardening advice for March, please click here.

For gardening advice for April, please click here.

For gardening advice for May, please click here.

Tomato Trial Reports

To see all of my Tomato Trials, please click here.

Edible Gardening Articles

For useful tips on growing fruit, please click here.

To see my vegetable plant pages, please click here.

For tips on pumpkin growing , please click here.

To see my mini glasshouse, please click here.

To see the Chris Evans Taste Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, please click here.

To see the RHS Edible Garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, please click here.

For tips on protecting your plants from slugs and snails, please click here.

Further Trials

You may be interested in some of the other trials I have conducted.

Compost Trial Reports

To see all of my Compost Trials, please click here.

To read advice on planting up containers, please click here.

Scented Daffodil Trial Reports

To see the results of my third Scented Daffodil Trial, please click here.

To read the results of my second Scented Daffodil Container Trial, please click here.

To read the results of my first Scented Daffodil Trial, please click here.

Slug and Snail Trials

To see the results of my Slug and Snail Trial and discover the best methods of protecting your plants from slugs and snails, please click here.

To read about using nematodes to protect your plants from slugs and snails, please click here.

Sweet Pea Trial Reports

To read the results of my third Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.

To read the results of my second Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.

To read the results of my first Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.

Terrarium, Vivarium, and Orchidarium Trials

To see how my Orchidarium was created, please click here.

To see the design of my Rainforest Terrarium, please click here.

To read the first part of my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.

To read the first part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.

To read the first part of my Miniature Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.

To see a planting list of ferns, orchids, and other plants that are perfectly suited to growing inside terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.

To read about the general care I give to my orchids and terrarium plants, and the general maintenance I give to my BiOrbAir terrariums, please click here.

To read how I track the temperature, humidity, and light conditions inside my terrariums, please click here.

Vegetable Trials

To see all of my Vegetable Trials, please click here.

Other articles that may interest you…………

For more edible gardening articles, please click here.

For articles about houseplants, please click here.

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