Growing tomatoes is a fun and rewarding task, resulting in masses of fresh, nutritious tomatoes that taste better than anything you can buy in the shops. Tomatoes are easy to grow and taste best when grown in full sun. There are many different varieties of tomato to grow, including cherry, plum and beefsteak, each with its own distinctive shaped fruit, flavour and culinary uses.

Choosing tomatoes to grow

Tomatoes are split into two main growing types: determinate (bush) and indeterminate (cordon). Bush types are often planted in pots or large hanging baskets and their stems trail around the edge. Cordon types are trained to grow tall around one main stem and are supported by a cane or stake.

If you grow cordon tomatoes then you will need a stake or bamboo cane to support the plant, and you’ll need to pinch out sideshoots to keep the plant fruiting on one central stem. You don’t usually need to stake bush tomato varieties, but they may need a little support for any stems that are in danger of snapping or touching the ground under the weight of their fruit.

If you’re a beginner gardener then it’s a good idea to grow bush tomatoes, as you don’t need to stake them or pinch out growing tips. Compact bush varieties such as ‘Gartenperle’ and ‘Tumbling Tom Red’ are great for hanging baskets.

How to grow tomatoes at home

To grow tomatoes successfully, you need rich, fertile soil or large pots of peat-free potting compost, and a good sunny, sheltered spot. Water regularly and feed weekly with a high-potash fertiliser once the plants start to flower, we stock everything you need here at the Grange. 

Move your tomatoes outside after the last frost in May. Choose a sunny, sheltered spot, where you can plant them into soil with plenty of well-rotted garden compost added. Alternatively plant them into 30cm pots, or put two or three plants in a growing bag.

Planting tomatoes in a greenhouse

Growing tomatoes in a greenhouse is very similar to growing them outside, except you get a longer growing season and usually more tomatoes. You’ll need to shade your plants from excessive heat, which could cause tough skins and blotchy ripening. So fit some blinds, use shade paint, or hang woven shading fabric, adding this gradually rather than suddenly to avoid shocking the plants.