|Latin name:||Solanum lycopersicum 'Red Pear'|
|Guarantee:||100% growth and flowering guarantee|
|Leafs all year:||No|
|Harvesting:||July - October|
Tomato seeds require no prior treatment although steeping them in lukewarm water for 12 hours encourages germination.
When there is no longer the risk of frost and temperatures are above 12°C, young tomato plants can be planted outside but it is advisable to harden them off first – gradually acclimatise them to being outside by standing them in the shade outdoors for one hour longer every day for a week. After a week, pot up – a large pot may contain up to 3 plants. Stand the large pots in full sun.
When planting in the garden, choose a sheltered sunny spot and plant in rows 70 cm apart. Tie each plant to a cane. Remove side shoots (lateral shoots) to encourage growth upwards. Tie up new growth and remove other new side shoots weekly. Shrub forming or hanging tomatoes require neither cane nor removal of shoots. Tomatoes grown outdoors need fertiliser to grow and encourage fruiting on the main stem.
Tomatoes generally pollinate themselves but (bumble) bees will help too. Giving the plant a bit of a shake helps too – just shake those canes – but be careful not to damage the plant. The fruits will soon appear. When the first bunches of fruit appear, remove the lower leaves to encourage growth. Tomatoes also thrive with a regular feed of Bakker's tomato fertiliser! Tomatoes in the greenhouse usually grow taller so will require longer canes or even twine stretched from top to bottom. Try not to wet the plant when watering – best is to water the soil.
Water extra in periods of drought and keep the beds free of weed and your plants will thrive.
Tomatoes thrive in the greenhouse but also grow very well outdoors, always choose a warm, sheltered spot. Tomatoes were brought from South America by the Spaniards and then proceeded to conquer the world. Tomato plants overlap seeking support so the stem needs help from the cane to grow strong. Compact varieties do fine in pots. Those grown in the greenhouse can easily reach 2 metres in height, the same varieties grown outdoors will not be so tall. Canes of 1.5 metres are usually sufficient – In the greenhouse for extra height, use twine twisted along the main stem from bottom to top and wrap it around the main stem.