Monday, 24 April 2017

A Guide to Growing Tomatoes from Griffins Garden Centre


The Secret to Success:
Ensure the soil is warm. Warm up your soil by covering it with black plastic a few weeks prior to planting. Those extra degrees will translate into earlier tomatoes.

If you are planting in a pot or growbag, put a sheet of aeroboard/polystyrene underneath. This is a much warmer environment for the root system by creating a barrier between cold soil and roots (and also a great way to re-use aeroboard).

An exception to the rule, tomatoes can be buried deeper than they come in the pot – all the way up to the first few leaves. Tomatoes are able to develop roots all along their stems. If you can't dig a deeper hole, simply dig a shallow tunnel and lay the plant sideways. It will straighten up and grow towards the light!

Pinch and side shoot tomatoes regularly. Remove suckers that develop in the crotch joint of two branches (picture)



Mulch your tomatoes after the soil has had a chance to warm up.  As tomatoes love heat. Mulching conserves moisture and prevents soil and soil-borne diseases from splashing up on to the plants.

If planting in a pot, Place pot near warm wall as the heat is reflected from this

Remove leaves from the bottom 1ft of the stem. These are usually the first leaves to get disease and fungus problems.
Water regularly to keep the soil/compost evenly moist. Feed every 10-14 days with a good organic tomato feed , changing to feeding every 5-7 days once the first fruits start to set.

Grow Basil at the base of your tomato plant! This will act as a mulch, and is naturally a great combination plant for tomatoes. A few marigolds planted in close proximity will help keep your tomatoes free from insects.





Greenfly & Whitefly
If you do happen to get a few insects on your plants, you can boil up some garlic from your kitchen in water, allow to cool and use this as a spray.

Growbags can be difficult
I'm not a big fan of growbags for the growing of tomatoes, especially when the growbag is left flat and is planted with three tomatoes. To me, it's far too shallow and plants are difficult to maintain from the point of view of watering. A far better idea is to grow the tomato plant in a pot, approx 50cm in diameter, and use John Innes multipurpose compost. For better depth, cut growbags in half and you have two upright plastic pots.

Sungold - yellow fruit, medium sized, fantastic flavour!
Alicante - medium sized, good old fashioned flavour!
Money Maker - red medium sized, very hardy!
Shirley - medium sized with a great taste!
Tumbling Tom - trailing variety, great for containers!
Try a hanging basket of tumbling toms. A great way to grow this little beautys



If you would like more advice with Tomatoes or any Planting scheme please feel free to email info@griffinsgardencentre.ie



Blueberries 

So simple to grow and so good to eat. These berries are absolutely delicious whether eaten fresh or cooked. They grow to approximately 1 metre high, or a little lower if grown in containers. The best soil to use grow the plants in is a lime free compost, with some slow release tablets added. Here's a useful tip: it is best to grow two varieties of blueberry to get good pollination!
Always plant your blueberry in Ericaceous compost. This is really the only requirement. It is such a hardy plant that it will survive what ever our weather throws at it



Go on! Rediscover the good life – growing fruit is easier than you'd think!


Anyone for Strawberries?

Homegrown strawberries taste amazing and are so easy to grow – but, not in the ground! I have found it much easier, and an abundance of fruit had grown, when I grew my strawberries in growbags, in hanging baskets and in raised beds.
When strawberries are grown up high they won't get attacked by slugs.
Why not grow a few strawberries in a high plastic container, recycle an old drum and cut holes in it and plant strawberries through the holes on top of the container as well.
You will have a wonderful crop of great tasting strawberries in no time!

A really tasty variety is Elan. This is a professional variety for the demanding amateur grower. It has been given the title of gourmet strawberry. Up until recently, this variety was exclusively available to the professional grower, so it's a real delight to finally be able to offer this on the domestic market!

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