Growing Tomatoes in a Greenhouse Successfully
Kinds Of Tomatoes
It`s not difficult growing tomatoes in a greenhouse (toshkel) which taste delicious and provide you with a supply of healthy nutritious vegetables throughout the summer and early fall months. But before you start on this exciting adventure, just take a little time to choose the kinds of tomatoes you would like to feast on when harvesting. Here are some:
- Cherry Tomatoes - small fruits packed with flavour
- Plum Tomatoes - shaped like plum :0)
- Beefstake Tomatoes - biiiiiiig toms sometimes lacking flavour
- Yellow Tomaoes - sweet and gives colour variety in cooking
- Grape Tomatoes - sweet and very small
- Pear Tomatoes - pear shaped
In the photo below you will be able to pick out examples of cherry, plum, pear and yellow tomatoes.
A Selction of Tomato Kinds
Starting Tomatoes From Seed
All that is needed is a 15cm(6") seed tray or 7cm(3")plant pot.
Fill either with seed/potting compost - preferably bought from your local garden center as it will be free from pests and diseases.
Starting tomatoes from seed is easy... yes it really is! Sow the seed thinly onto the compost in your seed tray or plant pot then cover with a thin layer of compost.
Water in using a watering can fitted with a fine rose - you don`t want to wash out the seeds as you water.
Keep the compost moist but not wet and in a temperature of about 65F. A warm window ledge (not direct sun) or propagator is ideal.
When the first true leaves appear prick them out into a 7cm(3") plant pot filled with potting compost - planting them deeper than they where in the seed tray... this encourages more roots to grow from the stem.
If starting tomatoes from seed isn`t what you want to do - I know, you don`t want to get your hands dirty, then you can purchase plants from your garden center which will already be 15-20cms(6-8") tall. This is an even easier way to start growing tomatoes... but you will miss out on the satisfaction of starting from scratch.
Growing tomatoes in a greenhouse gives you lots of flexability. Planting tomatoes in the border soil will mean doing a little preparation during the autumn or fall months - Top Tip: making raised beds out of the border soil will give even better results.
Dig in peat or a small amount of compost or well rotted manure. Apply a general fertilizer just before transplanting your tomatoes into the soil.
Unfortunately border soil can become infested with soil and plant pests/diseases after 3 or 4 seasons and will need to be sterilized or changed.
Growing Greenhouse Tomatoes in Containers
Because of the difficulties with growing tomatoes in the border soil, other systems have become popular.
One way is to plant tomatoes into 23cm(9") pots filled with soiless compost - it`s good way of growing greenhouse tomatoes without the problems of pests and diseases building up.
But growing bags have now become the most popular growing system - used by the professional and amateur vegetable grower alike. They are both good and reliable but watering balance can be a little tricky.
I personally only ever use growing bags and to `master` the tricky watering problem I cut a long slit in the underside of the bag then turn it over onto the border soil.
The possibility of overwatering and getting the bag waterlogged because of minimum drainage holes has never been a problem - excess water drains easily into the border soil.
The growing bags are changed each year of course and in 25yrs of growing greenhouse tomatoes I haven`t had any serious problems.
Transplanting Greenhouse Tomatoes
Plant out your young tomato plants into growing bags, border soil 23cm(9") plant pots when the seedlings are about 15-20cms(6-8") tall and the flowers of the first truss are forming.
Water in thoroughly - spacing the plants 45cm(18") apart if they are planted into the border soil.
Feeding and Watering Your Growing Tomatoes
Water the growing tomatoes regularly to keep the soil moist - irregular watering can cause the fruit to split or to develop blossom end rot.
Feed with a soluble tomato fertilizer about once per week. Some commentators recommend feeding every time you water. In the summer with lots of growth that could be once a day... I have always had successful crops feeding once a week and certainly no more than twice a week - it`s cheaper too.
Tomatoes Starting To Swell
Staking Your Terrific Tomatoes
The tomato plant is a vine so the stem will not remain upright on its own.
Push a stake - I use a 2.5m (approx. 8ft) bamboo cane into the growing bag adjacent to the stem. At intervals loosely tie the stem to the stake as the plant grows.
Alternatively, wind the stem up a well anchored but slack length of twine.
Thereis very little pruning to do to your tomato plants. Where the leaves grow out from the main stem a side shoot will grow - pinch this out from each leaf joint as they when they are about 5cm(2") long.
When the plants are about 1.2m(4ft) remove the leaves from below the first truss. Remove yellowing leaves as the season progresses. Don`t overdo this deleafing process.
Growing Tomatoes Now Ready To Eat
The time has now come to reap your rewards for growing greenhouse tomatoes. Pick them when they are ripe and fully coloured.
Holding the fruit in your palm, break it off at the 'knuckle' using your thumb. The knuckle is the swelling on the flower stalk just above the fruit.
And now stop for a moment and survey your growing tomatoes then pop one in your mouth - savour that fantastic flavour ... you`ll never get a store bought one to taste like that and you also know what's gone into them mmmmmmmmmmmm.
Even More Vegetables to Grow - Visit....
- Planting a vegetable garden
One family`s experience of planting a vegetable garden. Learn how to prepare, plant and harvest safe, nutritious vegetables. Taste the good life - be healthier and more content