Growing Tomatoes in Dalefoot Composts’ Peat Free Compost

Growing Tomatoes in Dalefoot Composts’ Peat Free Compost

I am a passionate advocate for going peat free.  I’ve always been a peat free gardener, but I’ve not always managed to find good quality peat free compost.  To search for good quality peat free products, I run peat free Compost Trials every year.  Dalefoot Composts have been the top performing compost brand, in all of my trials to date.

Dalefoot use natural materials to create their composts, including bracken and Herdwick sheep wool.  I have found that Dalefoot Composts are much more water retentive than other composts I’ve trialled; plants grown in Dalefoot Compost require less water than plants that are grown in regular compost.  Dalefoot Composts produce a range of peat free composts that have all been certified organic by the Soil Association.

Dalefoot Composts have launched a new compost – Dalefoot Wool Compost for tomatoes – a peat free compost made from natural organic ingredients including wool and bracken. I’ve been testing this compost this year, this is a water retentive compost that contains all the nutrients tomatoes need for healthy growth. There’s no need to use any additional fertiliser, just water when the compost becomes dry.

2018 Tomato Trial

Last year I ran a Tomato Trial.  I was interested to see what some of the new varieties of tomatoes were like, so I set out to find the best tasting and most productive new tomato varieties.  I grew all of my trialled tomato plants in Dalefoot Composts peat free composts.  My tomato plants were all grown from seed and raised in my Access Garden Products Exbury Classic Growhouse.

I sowed my tomato seeds for my 2018 Tomato Trial in Dalefoot Composts Wool Composts for Seeds.  As these tomato seedlings developed, they were moved into containers of Dalefoot Wool Potting Compost.  Then as the plants grew larger, they were potted into pots of Dalefoot Wool Compost for Vegetables and Salads.  In their final re-potting, my tomato plants were either planted in a container filled with a 50:50 blend of Dalefoot Composts Double Strength Wool Compost and Dalefoot Wool Compost for Vegetables and Salads; while the remaining tomato plants were planted in the ground, where they were mulched with Dalefoot Double Strength Wool Compost.

Tomato seedlings pictured on the 13th April 2018, inside my glasshouse, during my Tomato Trial.

If you’re interested in my 2018 Tomato Trial, you’ll find the results in full, here.

Tomato ‘Honeycomb’

My favourite tasting tomato from last year’s Tomato Trial was an orange coloured cherry tomato called ‘Honeycomb’.  Tomato ‘Honeycomb’ is a new tomato that was bred by Simon Crawford, from Burpee Seeds.  I enjoyed my ‘Honeycomb’ tomatoes so much, that this year I’ve grown them again!

‘Honeycomb’ is such a delicious tasting cherry tomato, the fruit is sweet and full of flavour, with a great balance of acidity.  ‘Honeycomb’ tomatoes are small and juicy.  Their flavour is sweet, fruity, and intense; there’s a distinct citrus character, with a rather lovely hint of orange.  ‘Honeycomb’ tomato skins are so fine and thin, they just dissolve and melt in your mouth.

I am looking forward to these tomatoes ripening. At this time of year, you can remove some of your tomato plant’s leaves, to allow the trusses of fruits to ripen in the autumn sunshine. If you trim the top of the stem from your plant, your plant won’t grow any taller. Instead the plant will concentrate its energy on developing the plant’s existing fruit.

Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes

This year I am trialling Dalefoot Composts Wool Composts for Tomatoes.  This is a complete all in one, organic, peat free compost, and fertiliser.

The idea is, you grow your tomatoes in the usual way – first sow your tomato seeds in a seed compost – I used Dalefoot’s Wool Compost for seeds.  Like last year, this year I sowed my tomato seeds and raised my tomato plants inside my Access Garden Products Exbury Classic Growhouse.

When my tomato plants developed their true leaves, I potted my plants up into containers filled with Dalefoot Composts’ Wool Compost.  The tomato plants grew in these pots for a little while; before finally being planted into containers filled with Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes.  There’s no need to use any fertiliser or plant food – Dalefoot Compost Wool Compost for Tomatoes has been designed to give your plants all the nutrients they need.

A truss of ‘Honeycomb’ tomatoes ripening in my garden this afternoon.

So I’m growing my plants in Dalefoot’s recommended manner – I’ve not fed my plants, they have just been watered in the usual way.

How good is Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes?  At the moment, it’s far too early to give you any concrete results from my 2019 Trial.  My plants appear strong and healthy, but I am yet to harvest my orange ‘Honeycomb’ tomatoes.  My seeds were sown a little later than usual this year, but my ‘Honeycomb’ tomato plants are looking very healthy so far.  I’ll let you know how my tomato plants get on and how Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Tomatoes performed in this year’s Trial, in due course.

But for now, eating tomatoes is in my future and I am looking forward to it – the future’s bright, the future’s orange!

As you can see, my Tomato ‘Honeycomb’ plants still have lots of green fruits left to ripen. If you want to ripen green tomatoes, there are many things you can do. Ripe bananas produce a gas called ethylene, which helps fruit to ripen. Usually we keep ripe bananas away from other fruit, so the fruit keeps for longer, but when we want to ripen something, we can move a ripe banana close to the unripe fruit – for best results, place them both together in a bag, to contain the ethylene. I have also found that keeping green tomatoes in a dark box or drawer helps them to ripen.

Other articles that may interest you………….

To see my Tomato Trials, please click here.

If you’re looking for a strong, lasting twine, to use to support your tomato plants or to support any other fruit or vegetables you’re growing, you might be interested to see the results of my Twine Trial, here’s a link.

To see photographs of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, please click here.

For ideas for sustainable gardening, please click here.

For ideas for sustainable living, please click here.

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