Gardener's World tips: Why your outdoor tomatoes haven't ripened
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Tomatoes run on warmth, which is why they are recommended to be grown in late spring and early summer. However, for those wanting to grow the vegetable in winter months, it’s not impossible. According to experts, all they need is a greenhouse location.
To grow tomatoes successfully, they need rich, fertile soil as well as a sunny, warm spot which is sheltered.
Although the UK lacks warmth during the winter months, tomatoes can still be grown successfully.
Experts at Rhino Greenhouses Direct said: “Tomatoes are sub-tropical plants and therefore thrive in warm, sheltered and sunny environments.
“Greenhouses are an ideal place for them.
“Tomatoes should preferably be grown in full sun.
“Tomato plants love rich and fertile soil and you will need to water them regularly as they are thirsty plants.
“Beware though, if you overwater them the tomatoes will rot or split.
“Once the first flowers have bloomed, tomato plants need feeding with high potassium feed such as Tomorite, once a week.
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“Greenhouses provide the ideal environment for tomato plants to thrive as they are sheltered and warm.”
The experts recommend planting them in large pots, around 30cm.
Alternatives include grow bags, which help control the temperature of the soil.
The experts added: “Tomatoes need to be kept at a consistent temperature of around 18 degrees for germination, so if you’re growing them in the winter months, it’s essential you invest in a high-quality greenhouse heater.”
Heating a greenhouse can be expensive, but if there are plants which need a warmer temperature, it’ll be worth it.
“Grow basil plants in the same space as your tomatoes as these can help keep away pests and diseases, preventing them from ruining your tomato plants. Tomato and basil is a delicious flavour combination too,” added the experts.
As well as growing tomatoes in a greenhouse, seeds can also be sown indoors.
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) explained: “Tomatoes are easy to grow from seed sown indoors in warm conditions.
“Fill a small pot with seed compost, water well, then sow three or four seeds on the surface.
“Cover with vermiculite and keep 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.”
Extra care may be needed during the winter months to ensure the tomatoes don’t get any diseases.
Controlling temperature and sunlight levels as well as feeding regularly can help tomatoes grow successfully.
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