Tag Archives: growing

Rows of tomato seeds being grown into tomato plants for sale in the garden centres.

Time for tomatoes

Tomatoes – tips for your best harvest yet

Tropical Tomatoes

Rows of tomato seeds being grown into tomato plants for sale in the garden centres.

Tomatoes being grown in the nurseries

Originally from South America, tomatoes tend to prefer a warmer climate and suffer when the temperatures drop below 10°C. Consequently, take care not to plant your tomatoes outdoors too early. This will prevent a number of problems such as catfacing (malformation and scarring of the fruit), brown leaf spots and leaf curling. A tomato plant can usually survive these issues and recover in the warmth. However, if it was a surprise frost that caught your tomatoes then the damage is usually permanent and it is best to start over.

Getting the best results from your tomato plants

For best results we recommend covering the tomatoes until you are sure that the weather will be warm enough. A great indicator for this is usually when the temperature remains above 10°C overnight, so buy yourself an outdoor thermometer to check when you next pop in to one of our garden centres.  Next, choose the warmest spot possible in your garden. Ideally keep your tomato plants in a greenhouse or plastic grow-house. Make sure that the spot is also aerated and a fair distance from your potatoes because blight can travel and flourishes in humid conditions. Another option to try out is planting your tomatoes in pots in the sunniest part of your terrace or balcony for great fruit and decoration!

After planting;

  •  Stake or cage all your plants (except if you are growing trailing varieties in a basket or small bush types).
  • Tie the main stem to a vertical bamboo cane (again not for bush or hanging basket types).
  • Remove side-shoots regularly- when they get to about 2.5cm long (again not for hanging basket types).
  • Water consistently– tomatoes grow most successfully when they have consistent moisture. With all watery fruit (like berries) you will get bigger juicier ones with lots of watering. To avoid diseases do not water the foliage but instead aim your water straight onto the root zones and the compost. Irregular watering is the cause of many common problems including cracked fruit and blossom end rot.
  • Remove the growing point of the main stem two leaves above the top truss (stem with small green fruits). This should be done once your vine tomato has grown to have seven trusses if grown indoors, or four trusses if grown outside.


Feeding tomatoes should start after the first truss (stem with small green fruits) has set in. We recommend the product Tomorite as it has been a gardener’s friend for decades. It is ideal for other plants too including flowering plants due to the high potash content. It contains seaweed extract which supplies many micro-nutrients and produces full flavoured tomatoes. Outdoors you feed every 7 days, in a greenhouse feed twice a week.


Start picking when fruit is ripe and fully coloured. At the end of the growing season if you have some green tomatoes still on the plant, we recommend this delicious green tomato chutney recipe.

Varieties to choose from

We sell numerous tomato varieties throughout the growing season available in batches as they are ready from the greenhouses. Without a doubt our top selling varieties year on year are;

Gardeners Delight: a flavoursome cherry tomato known for heavy crops and great to grow in tomato bags or pots.

Shirley: an early maturing tomato that is known for heavy crops and also shows excellent disease resistance. Ideal for growing in a growbag or as a greenhouse cordon.

Moneymaker: grown as a cordon (vine) this variety produces smooth, medium salad tomato sized fruit that are delicious in flavour.

Fun Fact

Tomatoes are often treated as a vegetable in cooking and in deed our classification on the garden centre beds. However, the tomato is actually a fruit since its seeds are inside.

Broad Bean Plants with flower showing

Growing beans this May


Were you on time with sowing your broad beans last autumn? If so then hopefully you may soon be seeing some flowers.

Pinching out

Once this is the case, remember the importance of pinching out the tops of the beans. This is essential to keep away the aphids. You can make this job a little more rewarding by keeping the tips that you remove to steam and enjoy with a dash of lemon juice and olive oil. Delicious!

Too late to sow?

If you haven’t jumped on the bean bandwagon yet there is no need to worry. There is still plenty of time for you to plant several varieties of beans that can be enjoyed cooked or in salads this summer. Many varieties can still be sown in a greenhouse or conservatory. You can also buy young plants in 6 packs from our Exeter based garden centres to save you the hassle of sowing them yourself.

The end of May marks the best time to plant out your French beans and you can even wait until early June to plant the family favourite runner beans. Runner beans are sensitive to the wet and cold and a prone to rotting in these conditions so require heat to succeed.

Call ahead

We grow our vegetable plants from seed so they come in batches and availability fluctuates each week. To avoid any disappointment, we recommend you give us a call before making a specific journey to check we have the plants you want. Please give our plant teams a call – they will be pleased to help and you can contact them on either 01392 876281 (Old Rydon Lane) or 01392 876281 (Clyst St Mary).