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10 messages
17/01/2014 at 13:49

Hello all, I'm looking for some practical advice..

So this time last year we finally moved to a new home with a garden. The previous owner was a big gardener and I'm lucky to have various veg patches, a green house and a small potting shed.

Although I had some success (Peas, bean and corgettes) the tomatoes just didn't seem to work very well. As a gardening novice I followed the basic instructions from this website (and others) and had them all in the greenhouse by May and it looked pretty good. They were all potted up, lots of water and they were basically basking in the hottest summer I can remember. However the actual tomato fruit growth was pathetic. I had loads of different varieties but had very little croppage (that's a real word)

Come middle of September I gave up and stopped watering and pinching out etc and decided to let them die a slow undignified death as some sort of weird revenge on my part. Only they didn't die, they kept coming and started producing (quite slowly) tomatoes from October until the middle of November

So any advice on what to do this year to get them going quicker and earlier. Any easy to grow varieties would also be appreciated. Finally one last point. We were on holiday in Greece last year and they were growing tomatoes like footballs in soil that was harder than reinforced concrete. The plants looked a mess but the tomatoes were fantastic.

Thanks

James

17/01/2014 at 13:58

Hi James

What we need is a better spring than last year - it was so cold for so long that all the plants took for ever to get going - I was still picking tomatoes really late but at least they all ripened (and I grow them all outside!).

Fingers crossed for a warmer spring 

17/01/2014 at 14:59

Hi James,

I suggest you have a try with Gardeners Delight they are really sweet and small but the best thing is they will ripen outside so in your greenhouse they should be great! we moved house last year and it was the first year I was without a green house for about 15 years, however I'm now awaiting delivery of a lovely new 8x10 so looking forward to rejoining the green house brigade!! 

Just a suggestion F1 all female cucumbers are good to grow also!!

 

Happy Gardening Carol

17/01/2014 at 15:52

Hello.

Which varieties did you grow?

I find Tigerella/ Gardeners Delight very relable.

I start early toms indoors in heated/unheated propagators because my greenhouse in unheated. I've half dozen plants on the go now. The main lot I sow in very late February/early March.

17/01/2014 at 19:37

As our resident expert Italiophile is always saying, we need to treat tomatoes with 'controlled neglect'.  Over-feeding and over-watering will simply encourage them to produce lots of green growth and little fruit.  The theory behind this is that plants try harder to propagate themselves when conditions are harsh.  In the case of tomatoes, that means producing as much seed as possible which of course means lots of tomatoes.  It does work!

17/01/2014 at 21:39
Hi James,

I didn't try tomatoes last year but the year before they were pathetic (partly because my neighbour didn't water them properly for the 2 weeks we were on holiday!!). This year I am on a mission to have lovely toms and have been considering those tomato planters you can get that sit in a grow bag, has anyone else used them?

I could also do with some advice on varieties. I'm glad I'm not the only novice.

Tracey
20/01/2014 at 00:03

except for the late start as Dove said last year was quite good for Tomatoes so perhaps the varieties you grow were too late and made for a warmer country/a lot of luck? 

Another thing it could be is tree roots - are there any under the spot you grew them if they were growing in the ground - it could be too much competition for water (correct me if I'm wrong anyone, just think this is what happened to one side of my greenhouse this year, but might have been shade from the tree)

Or it could be the opposite overwatering, I got a pretty good crop without watering much (twice a week for the greenhouse ones in the ground, less for the ones outside if it rained) Controlled neglect as Bob and Italiophile say and it suits my work schedule. Start with good compost though for drainage and nutrition.

20/01/2014 at 00:12

Hi Dove, I took you advise on Anna Russian and have the seeds now, glad to here you managed to grow them outside!

Also growing Soldacki, Sungold and Cuore di Bue inside and outside Gardeners delight, maybe ildi and money maker from free magazine seeds 

20/01/2014 at 10:20

spottedray - Isn't it too early to be sowing tomatoes now? This is my first year I'll be growing them but thought I had to wait until Feb?

20/01/2014 at 12:07

Hi All

Thanks for all the advice and suggestions. Just to recap some of the questions - they were all grown in large containers in a greenhouse, I planted probably 8 varieties including gardeners delight and tigarella - so I don't think it was down to variety

I think looking back it would have been better to take the risk with some and get them potted up like now so I'm going to make a start on that. Also I like the idea of the controlled neglect. Will probably do that with say 50% and see what happens.

Thanks again

James

 

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