Gardening: Sow tomato seeds now for juicy summer crop – ‘easy’ and ‘simple’

This Morning: Daisy talks about winter gardening tasks

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Tomatoes are super versatile and can be grown in containers either outdoors if the weather permits, or inside either in a greenhouse or on a windowsill. There is also a huge variety of different tomatoes to choose from including sweet cherry tomatoes and giant beefsteaks. Gardeners should start sowing tomato seeds now to ensure they can be harvested in July, August and September.

The RHS said: “Tomatoes are easy to grow from seed sown indoors in warm conditions. Sow from late February to mid-March if you’ll be growing your crop in a greenhouse, or from late March to early April if they’ll be outside.

“Fill a small pot with seed compost, water well, then sow three or four seeds on the surface. Cover with vermiculite and keep at around 18 degrees celsius, ideally in a heated propagator, or cover with a clear plastic bag and place on a warm windowsill.

“As soon as seedlings appear, usually within a fortnight, uncover and place in as much light as possible, to prevent them growing thin and leggy.”

After a couple of weeds, the seedlings can be moved into individual pots.

The RHS recommended filling small pots with compost before making a hole in the centre of each with a blunt stick or dibber.

They added: “Lift each seedling individually, using the dibber to support its rootball and holding it by a leaf rather than the delicate stem, then lower it into the new hole.

“If the seedlings are leggy, bury it up to the first pair of leaves, then firm in gently.”

For those who don’t have a greenhouse, the seedlings can be placed on a well-light windowsill.

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However, the temperature must be at least 16 degrees celsius at all times to ensure they grow.

Gardeners should also water them regularly and after a month, they should be ready to be planted into their final position.

If they are not watered regularly, problems may arise with the fruit including splitting or blossom end rot.

Throughout the warmer months of the year, they may need watering daily.

When in the ground, the RHS recommended mulching them.

The website said: “Lay a thick layer of mulch over the soil around tomato plants to help hold moisture in the ground and deter weeds.

“Use garden compost or well-rotted manure, but leave a gap around the base of the stem, to prevent rotting.”

Tomatoes are split into two main growing types including bush and cordon.

Gardeners’ World recommended opting for bush tomatoes if you are a beginner because they don’t require staking.

The experts said: “With bush tomatoes, which have a sprawling habit, you can pretty much leave them to get on with it.

“If the fruits are hidden under the leaves, thin out the foliage a little to let the sun through to ripen them.

“Support heavy trusses on top of upturned flower pots to prevent their stems snapping.”

Tomatoes can also be sown in March and April and won’t be ready to harvest until the summer.

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