Any gardeners wondering whether it’s too late to grow tomatoes, Marcus said: “It’s not too late to grow your own tomatoes however, at this time of year, it’s recommended to grow from plants, and plant outside until the end of June.”
The Dobbies expert shared his advice when it comes to buying a tomato plant: “For beginner gardeners, or those looking for the easiest way to grow tomatoes, you’ll find that trailing and smaller bushy varieties require less maintenance.”
And when you get the tomato plant home, they can be “grown in a variety of ways”. Marcus explained: “A great way to enjoy them if you don’t have a lot of outdoor space is in a container.
“Tomato plants can take on a lot of water, so the larger the container, the easier it is to keep your tomatoes evenly watered.
“Put a layer of crocks in the bottom of your pot for drainage and then fill it with a good quality peat-free compost. Once your pot is prepped, use a hand trowel to plant your tomatoes, ensuring you firm into place and top up with extra compost as needed.”
As for whether there are any places or plants that tomatoes shouldn’t be planted near or with, the expert revealed: “Plants that require similar soil conditions and a sunny spot in the garden will do well next to tomato plants.
“Think about how you plan on enjoying your homegrown tomatoes and use that to decide what to plant. For example, if you make a lot of Italian food, consider planting basil and parsley.”
For a successful tomato plant, with plenty of fruit, there are a few conditions the plant needs. Marcus said: “Alongside a large container, these plants thrive in a sunny spot, so position your container in a bright area with direct sunlight for maximum growth.”
He also shared the most common mistakes gardeners make when growing tomatoes: “How often to water your tomato plants will depend on where you live and how warm the weather is, but it is a good idea to do this every few days. Not doing so could hinder your plant’s growth.
“To get a successful crop, once the first trusses start to set fruit, you should begin feeding your tomato plant weekly with tomato fertiliser, and ensure you water frequently, especially during high summer when the weather warms up.
“Your tomatoes will be ready to harvest between July and October. You’ll likely know when to do this by looking at them and feeling them– they’ll have developed a deep colour and be easy to gently pull from the plant.
“Taller tomato plants will benefit from being supported by a bamboo cane, and you should pinch out the side shoots of these varieties to concentrate the energy into creating fruit. Smaller bush and trailing varieties are fine left to grow without pruning,” Marcuse added.
For more gardening tips and advice, and to find your nearest Dobbies store, visit www.dobbies.com.