Tomato Growing Notes

(in days)
First Harvest
Moneymaker5th Mar 20248+
Gardener’s Delight5th Mar 20247
Rubyliscious F15th Mar 20244
Crimson Crush F15th Mar 20246
Lizzano F15th Mar 20245
Lucid Gem5th Mar 20247
Ozark Sunrise5th Mar 20247
Pink Berkeley Tie Dye5th Mar 20246
Amethyst Jewel5th Mar 20247
Rebel Starfighter Prime5th Mar 20248+
Purple Sunrise (wildcard)5th Mar 20247
Heinz 1350 (wildcard)5th Mar 20245

Tomato Diary


This will be our fourth year in the garden and therefore the fourth year growing tomatoes, and I finally think we have a set-up that is going to work for us and our space. After experimenting with growing tomatoes in raised beds, buckets, tomato pots and planters, the large triangular pots are what seem to work best in the exposed, windy garden.

Growing the tomatoes in beds makes them difficult to access, and the buckets, tomato pots and other planters are always caught by the wind, and require staking to the grass by angled canes, which makes the area impossible to mow or pass by easily.

I’ve chosen ten varieties of tomato to sow, plus two wildcard varieties in case I get any difficulties in germination. Unlike previous years where I have sown all open pollinated or heirloom varieties, I have gone for a few F1 varieties this year. Partly this came about because I was curious as to whether they’d offer any benefits in the practicalities of growing in the garden, but also because I am reading The Wizard And The Prophet, a book which looks at environmentalism through the dual lens of a conservator and an innovator. I see a lot of Instagram influencers disagree with F1 seeds as the bogeyman choice, and certainly they do have drawbacks, but as I have picked up some cheap seeds (89p per packet from Dobies, not Dobbies, which I have only just realised are two distinct stores) I am going to give them a go and make up my own mind.

March, Week 1

I’ve sown all of my planned tomato seeds for the year. I’ve sown two silicone based module cells of each variety, with two seeds in each cell. I’ll thin each cell to the strongest seedling before potting on the strongest plant from each (and check with Ma if she requires any of the others before I dispose of them). Seeds are on the landing windowsill on a heat mat set to 20℃.

April, Week 1

The tomato seedlings have been under the lights and on the heat mats since germination, but they do not look happy and the leaves are almost pure black on the majority of the tiny seedlings. True leaves are starting to appear on many of them, and the plants themselves are not leggy nor drooping, but they are beyond purple and into something far more unhealthy looking. I do not know if they are receiving too much artificial light, or if they are undernourished or too cold, especially on the draughty craft room windowsill at night.

I have potted the strongest seedling of each of the main varieties into some fresh, sieved compost. If I had thought a bit sharper I would have added some vermiculite into the mix. I’ve potted them into the spring-bottomed Clever Pots as a nice size that will make subsequent potting on easy enough. I’ve moved the seedlings downstairs (both the potted up ones and the ones still in modules, thinned to one per cell as an insurance policy) so they can sit on the Living Room windowsill in the day time and be moved further into the living room at night. The seedlings (even the ones that are still in cells) are looking a little happier after two days and hopefully will recover. The more ‘popular’ and F1 varieties are looking stronger and healthier than the modern open-pollinated fancy types at this stage, some of which are still the darker seedlings of the selection.

Before and after (2 days)