Last week I posted a list of what I had sown up to now this year. I mentioned in that post that I was ‘giving my Tomatoes the four-star treament’. James then e-mailed me and asked, ‘in reference to your Tomatoes, what is the four star treatment’? So I thought I’d let you know.
Well, I don’t have a green house so the only way I can grow Tomatoes from seed is to germinate them in a heated propagator on my windowsill. Once they have germinated I take them off the heat and put them in a normal propagator (I don’t prick them out, just lift the whole tray out).
Then I grow them on on the windowsill. However, my windows don’t get that much sunlight and so I move the plants outdoors every morning and bring them in every evening in order to give them enough sunlight. I’ll do this until they are ready to go into individual pots. Then I’ll start to harden them off in the coldframe.
Did I say four-star, that should have been five-star! In short, it’s a lot of work. But it’s the only way I know to get some seedlings of the super-duper blight resistant variety, Ferline (apparently Legend and Fantasio are quite good too). I haven’t seen any shops selling the seedlings. Please let me know if you have because I’m in the market to buy!
I wonder if my tomato treatment would equal 6 stars? I too have to raise seedlings on my windowsill as I have no outdoor space but I have just potted my tomato seedlings into 3″ pots. They are still indoors but I have placed a reflective sheet behind them so that they get the light from all angles. Keeps them out of this nasty rain and they don’t bend towards the light.
I love your blog!
I’m growing Ferline for the first time this year. My seedlings are also raised on the window sill. I do have a greenhouse, but it’s unheated so it’s still too cold for them to go in there.
Just a note – putting them outside from morning till night is hardening off… so you may be putting them in the cold frame unnecessarily.
If they get a bit leggy on your windowsill just plant them in compost to just below the 1st set of real leaves. The stem will then sprout roots, much like a potato. They’ll benefit from the ability
Fantasio aren’t that blight resistant. Whilst they claim resistance on the packet all mine went down with blight last year. The only toms I got were Latah variety – the very early type available from http://www.realseeds.co.uk
Good luck with Ferline.
I didn’t have the use of a greenhouse last year and bought a mini-greenhouse for £20 (approx. 5ft frame with cage-like trays and a plastic cover you can zip or unzip). I have to say, it was a really good buy – seedlings were started off then hardened off by flinging off the cover during fine days. They don’t take up much room but I would recommend putting some bricks on the bottom shelf to weight it down – mine blew over last year in some very gusty weather.
If you are interested in buying plants check out Simpsons Seeds at http://www.simpsonsseeds.co.uk/shop/Tomato_Plants.html who are tomato specialists. They list both Ferline and Legend and loads of interesting varieties to tempt one! Am trying their plants for the first time this year (have bought seeds in the past) but they are highly recommended by a friiend.
Some really good comments and especially the one about leggy seedlings, I’ll try that when my grow their second set of leaves (which are just coming through) I’ve gone for tumbling and Gartenperle which were both good last year. Also I have a little cold frame like Thursday and it’s brilliant and sits by my back door with the tumble drier vent to get the heat, works a treat! Great website and I use this as a reference guide.
It’s also a good idea to put leggy tomato plants into the ground horizontally with just the top poking up. It will soon start growing vertically and it makes for a stronger root system. So long as you keep the top few leaves, and remove all leaves from the area that goes underground, this will make a tougher plant.
I have the same set-up as Thursday there, seems to be working so far. Nice one on the earthing up advice, I believe potatoes and tomatoes are related (I even got some tomato like fruit on one of my potatoes last year).
We are trying a few different varieties of tomato this season. There was an offer in the sutton catalog, so many different types for (I forget now)…….
Anyone who wants a mini greenhouse or tomato house for this season should have a look at http://www.minigreenhouse.org.uk.
There are some on there that are under £20 delivered.
Looking forward to all those tomatoes …. yum
My tomatoes are a bit weedy and pale. Any suggestions on what might be the matter with them?
I bet it’s because they aren’t getting enough light.
Thanks, I’ll try putting them in a bit more light.
Pingback: Aubergine production | Narrative Self
My approach is similar, except I use a wide-spectrum flourescent light on them most evenings – I give them about every 3rd or 4th night off ;)
One thing to bear in mind with tomatoes is that if you save your own seed you may find you get plants that cope much better with local conditions. We’re growing black tomatoes from seed given to us by an allotment neighbour and the plants are slower than ‘packet’ seeds but also much thicker in the stem, which I reckon is the plant’s adjustment to (a) windy Sussex and (b) the fact that our last frost date is just about now.
I’m currently growing tomato plants from seed, but the stems are really weak with some growing almost horizontal.
Does anybody have any ideas what may be causing this? They are getting about 3 hours of direct sunlight, but that’s all. They have all grown to about 3 inches so far.
I have never let the soil dry out either. They are still in the propegator tray.