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Grow tasty tomatoes; top tips WITH RICHARD EVANS OF SNOWDONIA NURSERIES.

Byline: RICHARD EVANS

IT'S time to plant tomatoes in a leanto, greenhouse, or conservatory. In Grobags put two plants in a standard size bag, three in an extra large bag. Pierce bag bottoms to drain excess water.

Beginners may prefer using individual pots, at least 12 diameter, as it is easier to control watering. Avoid using very small plants prone to excessive leaf growth and poor fruit set.

Commercial growers often wait for a plant to be 12 high with first flower buds clearly visible if not open. Always support plants. Tie to bamboo canes or twist polypropylene string round stems and secure to a greenhouse roof. On non-bush plants, pinch out side shoots, in the joint between the leaves and main stem, but avoid flower trusses which also grow off the main stem. Feed regularly with a high potash liquid tomato fertilizer as soon as the first fruits start to swell.

There are hundreds of tomato varieties but only a handful offered for sale. Traditional Alicante, Ailsa Craig and Moneymaker remain popular though hybrids like Shirley give a heavier crop and better virus resistance. Cherry tomatoes are rising in popularity, significantly sweeter than standard types . Gardeners Delight is popular, but the hybrid Mosaico outperforms it, and orange yellow Sungold, a super sweet hybrid is popular. Check out heritage varieties Black Russian, with large mahogany green fruits, sweet and acidic at the same time. Green Zebra has tasty fruit, striped green and yellow. Tigerella has rich, tangy, heavy crops of red and yellow fruit.

Outdoors, wait till early June to plant. Try a heavy cropping bush like Tumbler or Tumbling Tom. ? Special offer: Home grown tomato plants only 99p each. Buy two, get one free!
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 5, 2012
Words:285
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