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Tasty tomatoes at home

Wednesday, 17th April, 2019 4:17pm

When it comes to growing your own vegetables, tomatoes can give you some of the biggest bang for your buck. The plants yield pounds of produce, and fit in even the smallest backyards or balconies.

You can start your plants indoors in a conservatory or glasshouse now. Then from May onwards, it should be reasonable to start putting your plants out, but keep an eye on them. They may still need to protect them from the cold weather but looking at the predicted weather ahead this should not be a problem.

Pinch and take off leaves for more tomato growth. Bury them deep. Give them a good sunny position with plenty of light and remove the bottom leaves.

Growing tomato plants outdoors can be quite a challenge in our Irish summers. Choose a sunny but sheltered position, preferably with the backing of a wall. The heat generated from concrete walls at night makes a huge difference to the wellbeing of your plants.

Also place your pot for the first few weeks on a sheet of aeroboard as this will also insulate the pot from the bottom.

The sunniest warmest position in your garden is usually where your cat sits.

From my experience, it is best not to feed your tomatoes with a liquid feed until you have a tomato the size of a pea. I do, however, put in a little slow release feed in when planting. Feeding too early drives your plant too much and the end result is not much fruit!

This is the most critical procedure in growing heavy crops of tomatoes! Your plants need to be kept dry at the beginning and you should use tepid water. Only water when compost feels too dry. How would you like to be doused with freezing cold water? In early summer, watering at night is a bad idea as generally Irish evenings are too cold. I would water in the late afternoon.

Basil keeps all sorts of insects at bay. I under plant my tomato plant with three basil plants. No insect will dare venture near my tomatoes!

Garlic will keep diseases and insects away, and helps tomatoes to crop better. Marigolds are great to keep insects away too.

Have you heard of a trap crop like nasturtiums? Trap cropping is a valuable way of controlling garden pests the organic way and is very easy to do in the vegetable garden. Planting nasturtiums in your tomato beds will draw aphids away from your precious tomato plants.


Happy Easter from all the team at Griffins Garden Centre. The centre will be open on Good Friday from 9am-6pm, Easter Saturday from 9am-6pm, Easter Sunday from 10am-6pm, Bank Holiday Monday on 9am-6pm.

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