Get tomatoes going now

It’s the perfect time to start off new varieties or old favourites


There are two tomato seasons – the one in late summer when your plants are dripping with fruit for harvest, and the first one is now. This is the time – if you haven’t done so already – to invest in some intriguing new varieties (or old favourites), before sowing and nurturing plants to maturity. 

Being sown here is the variety ‘Ildi’, which is slightly unusual – it’s a pear drop-shaped yellow type, which is compact growing and perfect for a hanging basket. As tomato plants can get large and gangly on a small patio, try tucking them away in a basket to droop temptingly in summer, while not taking up much room.

Sow now in a heated greenhouse or propagator, or indoors to put on a warm windowsill. Use moistened seed or cuttings compost levelled out in small pots. Sow thinly on the surface, keeping seed apart so seedlings don’t grow too closely to one another and ‘damp off’ or rot. Once sown, cover with a thin layer of compost and water again lightly. Keep your pots at around 20C, and you’ll see growth progress after about two weeks. Once plants have germinated keep your seedling pots nice and ventilated at a couple of degrees lower to grow on. Prick out once they have two sets of leaves into their own pots, by holding their leaves and firming into dibbed holes. Water and grow on in good light, and reduce their temperature if they get too leggy.

Here are some more excellent coloured varieties to try now - click the images to find out more…