Welcome to the Tomato Growing Newsletter
The Tomato Growing Newsletter has been available from March to the end of September for several years. It is full of topical suggestions and tips as we go through the season on a weekly basis!
Blight resistant tomato plants
A surprise I’m used to, is a wet summer and late blight.
One of the first considerations each season is which tomato varieties to grow but given the likelyhood of another wet summer, I am only growing blight free varieties outside.
Crimson Crush, Mountain Magic and Lizzano are available as seeds and there are a couple of new blight free varieties from Suttons available as plug plants.
Also, Crimson Cherry, like its bigger brother it has two blight resistant genes protecting it from all late blight spores found in the UK.
There is also Crimson Blush (below) available as seeds and plug plants.
Crimson Blush F1 hybrid is another “blight resistant” tomato from Suttons with a taste that is more like a cherry variety than a beefsteak!
If you are looking for a beefsteak variety to grow outdoors this season – try Crimson Blush!
Grafted Tomato Plants
Suttons also sell a number of grafted tomato plants. These are varieties that have been grafted to a very vigorous and disease resistant rootstock. To find out more about grafting go here.
Grafted plants are vigorous and ideal for growing in soil where disease may be a problem. The thing is, they are expensive so it would probably be less expensive to change the soil and grow regular vigorous varieties!
It is possible to buy rootstock seeds and graft your own varieties but it is a fiddly task and temperatures and humidity have to be right for success.
The Oasesbox – self watering planter
Many of us know and love the Quadgrow Planter but this season I’m trying out the new Oasesbox self watering planter.
It has a number of advantages over the Quadgrow including:
- Twice the reservoir capacity – 15ltr per plant
- Individual units for each plant can be placed around the garden, greenhouse or conservatory
- No shared reservoir giving better disease protection to roots
- Very easy to set up – no capillary matting for example!
More about the Oasesbox here.
Suttons also have a self watering planter for sale this season called the Self Watering Grow Pot Tower.
A nice looking item that will need some top support as plants grow. The reservoir is limited so it is not suitable for holiday watering.
A large pot stood in a tray or bucket that can be watered daily would be as good. You could stand the pot on blocks to stop the soil in the pots from becoming too saturated. Roots love to grow out of the bottom of pots and into the water/reservoir below.
Hydroponics 4 Fun
Last season we grew a dwarf variety in a rockwool block using an inexpensive balanced food and tomato food.
This season we’ll have a go at growing a tall, cordon variety, in rockwool or perlite in a homemade self watering planter.
A bit more demanding but an interesting challenge!
There’s also the option for soil instead of rockwool or perlite.
Here’s an example of a dwarf variety growing in a 3 and a half inch rockwool block on the windowsill.
I usually sow my main batch of tomato seeds around the middle of March.
In past seasons, I’ve started some seeds early, under grow lights. I still use additional lighting when light levels are low, but I find that with the right growing methods I can be eating my own tomatoes soon enough!
That’s about it for this first newsletter … let’s hope we have a great season and the weather improves!