Collection: Tomatoes

Lycopersicon esculentum. Average 25 seeds per packet. We have a lot of tomato varieties so we have divided them into groups. The Early season tomatoes are those that those that are normally grown out doors, (in countries with somewhat better summers than us).

In a good season in Ireland they might ripen outside. In a bad season they will do better than greenhouse tomatoes, inside. They tend to be bush or determinate plants which sprawl around and cannot be trained neatly up a string. They also tend to produce their fruit in a short time and then die.

The Greenhouse tomatoes are happiest indoors and tend to be cordon or indeterminate types, that can be trained up a support, if their side shoots are removed. They tend to crop over a longer period. Cherry tomatoes such as Tumbler, Polen, and the Centiflor varieties also have some chance outside, but all are happier in a green house or polytunnel.

It takes a good Irish summer to ripen any tomatoes outside and we recommend you protect them with a cloche or some fleece.

Paste tomatoes have a high dry matter content and so make thick sauces, they are not as tasty raw, as salad types. Storage types can be sown later than other varieties so that the fruit is still green towards the end of the season. the will continue to ripen stored on the vine. Many varieties will continue ripening on a sunny window sill after harvest.

Flavour in tomatoes is determined by several factors. Our varieties have to taste good or they don't get on the catalogue. If they have other good qualities, like being really early, they also get on. Over-watering leads to higher yields but less flavor, as does the application of high nitrogen fertilizers. Sunshine increases the sugar content and improves the flavour of tomatoes. We find that in a bad summer the black tomatoes, such as Paul Robeson, have good flavour inspite of the lack of sunlight.

Growing Instructions

Tomatoes are happiest in a greenhouse or polytunnel. The seeds need a warm place, like a propagator, or kitchen windowsill, to germinate. They will be killed by frost and will not thrive when nights are cold. So unless you have a heated greenhouse or conservatory, restrain yourself from sowing them till February or March. Prick out the seedlings into 10cm pots when they have a couple of real leaves and keep them cosy until they are planted out in their final positions in April or May. Here we dig a trench in the polytunnel in spring, and fill it up with well-rotted FYM. The trench is covered up with soil again and then with ground cover. The plants are planted through the ground cover 60cm apart. They need regular watering and cordon varieties will need to be supported with a string or a stick and to have their side-shoots removed. The seeds are ready to be saved when the tomato is really ripe.

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