Tangy tomatoes

Tomatoes come in all shapes, sizes and colours, so grow a few different varieties for your sandwiches

Common Name

Tomatoes are an important crop in the vegetable garden, they are actually ‘fruits’, the fleshy berries of the plant and often referred to as ‘fruiting vegetables’. There are lots of different varieties you can grow, from cherry tomatoes to stripy tomatoes.

Growing Tips

You will need:

  • A packet of tomato seeds – there are lots of varieties to choose from; ‘Tigerella’ is a stripy tomato, ‘Gardener’s delight’ is a cherry tomato, ‘Tumbling Tom’ is a tomato to grow in a hanging basket.
  • Small pots or seed trays
  • Seed compost
  • Plant labels
  • Gardening gloves
  • Clear polythene bag

How to grow:

  • Fill the pot almost to the top with seed compost, tap the compost so it is level, place the seeds on the surface and then cover Place on a warm, sunny windowsill and cover with a polythene bag. Tomatoes need at least 18cm to germinate.
  • Prick out into 5–8cm pots once two ‘seed’ leaves have formed. Biodegradable pots, such as coir pots, are particularly good as they will allow you to plant the tomatoes out without disturbing the roots.
  • Wait until the risk of frost has passed in your area (late May–mid June), when the roots of the tomatoes have filled the pots, and the first flowers have formed, before planting outside in the ground, pots or growbags.


  • Vine or cordon tomatoes will need to be supported by being tied to stakes or canes pushed firmly in the ground. Make sure you put toppers on canes to protect from eye injuries.
  • When they are about 2.5cm long, remove the side shoots regularly, this is called ‘pinching out’. Side shoots grow where the base of the leaf joins the main stem (leaf node). Those grown as bush or hanging basket varieties do not need to have side shoots removed.
  • Tomatoes need watering on a regular basis to keep the soil or compost moist. Feed every 10–14 days with a balanced liquid fertiliser suitable for tomatoes.

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.