I always like to have plenty of tomatoes to harvest for making passata, tomato sauce, drying and of course to enjoy the incomparable taste of just eating them.
There is something quite tantalising about watching a tiny speck turn into a two meter high plant that produces such an abundance of juicy, beautiful bounty.
Planting usually happens in late July into Jiffy Peat Pots which I buy in bulk. I like these because they are made from a waste product and create a complete environment for the tiny seeds to germinate and commence their life cycle. Because we will have a much bigger area to plant in this year I am increasing the varieties (past couple of years I have only grown bottling tomatoes and a few eating varieties) that I plant. Along with my favourites of San Marzano (bottling and sauce), Gross Lisse (eating) I will be planting some Cerise (cherry size on trusses), Purple Russian and Buddia(?) which is apparently a heritage variety that I have saved seed from but can’t find much information about.
The pots are put into my greenhouse on a heat mat and an old frying pan I have improvised as a heat bed and when they are big enough I pot them up into a larger container until ready to plant out. There has been noticeable lack of sun this year so even the greenhouse is not really getting warm enough to kick-start the germination so the extra warmth from underneath the pots will help.