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British Tomato Fortnight

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During the lockdown have you turned to your garden and plants for a breath of fresh air and calmness?

If you’re new to gardening and don’t know where to start, British Tomato Fortnight could be the perfect inspiration. But, before you begin planting, the green fingered team at Visit Winchester has some top tomato tips to help:

Tomato plants in pots

If you are planting your tomatoes outside wait until the chance of frost has gone (around mid-late May).

If you have the space, grow more than one variety of tomatoes at a time as some will suit your locality better and will fend better against disease.

We recommend Gardener’s Delight is a popular flavoursome cherry tomato.

Whether planting inside or out try and grow your plants in a sunny, sheltered spot and water them regularly to avoid them drying out.

Instead of growing your tomatoes in the flat grow bag where they dry out really quickly, fold the bags in half, cut the plastic and plump them up to make two taller circular bags. If you are growing inside make sure you choose deeper pots. The deeper containers mean the roots of the tomatoes can work their way down into the compost.

Tomato plants in grow bags

When the first flowers appear feed your tomatoes weekly with a liquid tomato fertiliser.

Pinch out any shoots that develop between the stem and the main branches. You want the plant to focus all its energy on the developing fruit. With this in mind cut off the top of the plant when six trusses of fruit set, this will also help the plant focus its energy.

If you have any unripe tomatoes left at the end of the season, place them next to a banana that will help them to ripen or make them into chutney to load onto locally baked bread or chop up into a home-made pasta sauce and serve with lashings of Hampshire Cheese.

And finally, serve on a lush green bed of Alresford’s finest watercress for a delicious salad.