Growing tomatoes from seed is easy and there's a huge range of delicious varieties to choose from.
Some tomatoes we recommend: It’s quite nice to try several varieties each year, then you have a visually stimulating lot, as well as a range of flavours.
If you grow tomatoes outside, choose varieties that will cope well in the weather conditions of your area.
Some we like:
• 'Cream Sausage' - creamy coloured, plum shaped and very sweet
• 'Black Russian' - a large, dark skinned variety
• 'Gardeners Delight' - popular for its abundance of sweet fruit
• 'Sungold' - masses of cherry-sized fruits ideal for salads
• 'Marmande' - a classic beefsteak tomato, it originally came from France and requires the weather of the Southern Mediterranean to reach its full taste.
• Siberian can cope with lower temperatures because it was developed that way – the name says it all!
• Moneymaker is an old English variety that excels in a moderate climate and is very reliable.
• Ailsa Craig
• Outdoor Girl
What to do now (when frosts are over)
About now, you should start to harden off any plants you have grown from seed. This is done simply by putting them out during the day in a sheltered position like a patio and taking them in at night. After a week, providing the weather hasn't suddenly turned cold or frost is forecast, they can be left out all night in a sheltered position. The plants should be left in this position for at least a week, preferably a fortnight. Alternatively the plants can be hardened off in a garden frame.
The secret to good tomatoes, is regular feeding and to keep the compost moist. Start feeding all plants with a liquid food after the first truss has set fruit and repeat at 14 day intervals. The plant food should contain balanced nutrients, magnesium and seaweed extract to ensure good colour and full taste.
Where to get them
Seeds and gardening materials can be bought online in the UK from Unwins and Crocus and in the USA, from Gurneys Seed and Nursery . If you are based elsewhere eBay is a good bet. Or Google your local suppliers.
If you'd like to learn more then we'd recommend Edible Gardening Made Easy, With Alex Mitchell