|Latin name:||Solanum lycopersicum 'Totem F1'|
|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.
Your tomato plants can go outdoors when all chance of frost is passed and night temperatures are above 12°C. Do harden 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 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 all the energy to go to the growing tip and for the formation of the flowers to produce fruit.
Tomatoes generally pollinate themselves but (bumble) bees will help too. However, to encourage fruiting, you can gently shake the main stem or cane – but be careful not to damage the plant. When the first bunches of fruit appear, remove the lower leaves for their development. Tomatoes respond well 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 roots to the top of the plant. When watering avoid wetting the leaves – water directly under the plant around the base - best is to water the soil.
Water extra in dry periods, keep the beds free of weed and your plants will thrive.
Tomato plants love the heat and can be sown indoors in a mini greenhouse (or in a simple seeding tray) or in the greenhouse from the beginning of March. Combining the use of turf pots filled with good potting compost and a mini greenhouse is the easiest. Perfect if you can also provide some heat on the bottom of the tray or mini greenhouse. Use 1 seed per pot, planted 0.5 cm deep and covered with some potting compost, then stand them on a sunny window-sill. Depending on temperature they should germinate within 10 days, after which you can reduce humidity in the mini greenhouse by opening the slides (or pricking through the plastic held up by bamboo skewers covering the tray). After 5 days, the seedlings will then be acclimatised and they can be potted up to larger pots.