Choose & Grow Your Tomato Varieties

Last Updated on April 10, 2024 by Real Men Sow

Grow your tomatoes in a way that suits the space available, and also the tastes and textures you enjoy. Tomato varieties can be grown as vines (cordons) or bushes. Tomatoes are an excellent choice if you’re thinking about what to grow in your greenhouse.

Tomato Varieties To Grow In Your Garden

Vine Tomatoes

They’re known as Indeterminate and Cordon (Money maker) and are the most common to grow. This variety is great for growing tomatoes in greenhouses or polytunnels. These tomato plants can grow up to several meters in length. 

The vine tomato varieties are grown with one main stem. Side shoots must be removed frequently. These tomato plants can grow up to several meters in length and need to be supported. You should provide sufficient support for your vine tomato plants, such as canes and support frames.

Bush Tomatoes

These tomatoes are also known as determinate tomatoes and are ideal for outdoor tomato cultivation. The bush types are smaller, more bushy and shorter. They are easy to support using a bamboo cane. Tumbling Tom, Red Alert, and Garden Pearl are some of the most popular varieties. These varieties do not require that you remove the side shoots.

When to Plant When You’re Growing Tomato Varieties from Seed

The best time to plant tomatoes is the following:

  • You can sow in a heated propagator such as our Vitopod Heated Electric Propagator, or in a heated greenhouse from January to February.
  • Sow in an unheated propagator, or unheated greenhouse, from late February through early March.
  • Plant tomato seeds outdoors in late March or early April.

Sowing Tomato Varieties

Use a tamper to lightly flatten the compost. Place the seeds on top of the compost. Space the seeds evenly, and sow as many seeds as you need. The seeds should be covered with approximately Add 0.5cm to 1cm compost.

Soak the compost in water until it is moist but not saturated. If you have a propagator to grow tomatoes, place the seed tray inside the propagator and cover it with the lid. You can grow tomatoes from seeds in pots or in a propagator. Keep it warm and away from direct sunlight. It should be at least 18 degrees Celsius.

General Care for Tomato Seedlings

Day 17-28: Seedlings will appear, but some varieties may take up to 28 working days to germinate. After the seedlings appear, transfer the propagator/seed tray to a sunny, warm area of your house. A windowsill is a good choice. The compost should be kept moist but not dry. If you have a propagator lid, remove it when all the seedlings are visible.

Transfer Tomato Varieties into Pots

Day 50-60: Most varieties of seedlings will be large enough for individual 3 inch pots to be placed in. Use a pencil to mark a space for the seedling. Fill a 3-inch pot with compost. Gently hold the tomato seedling with its leaves. Next, use a pencil or a dibber to lift the seedling out of the tray.

Firmly cover the plant with compost. Make sure the roots are fully covered. The compost should be moistened but not saturated and the pots should be placed in a sunny area such as a greenhouse, conservatory, or windowsill in warm rooms.

Transfer to the Final Large Pot

When the tomato plants reach 6-8 inches tall, You will need to slowly wean your tomato plants from the heat generated by an electric propagator. This stage’s timing will depend on the temperature and whether or not you have a heater in your greenhouse. This is known as ‘hardening off.

Hardening off Tomato Varieties

The heat from a propagator or greenhouse should be slowly removed from young tomato plants. This stage will vary depending on the temperature and whether there is a heater in your greenhouse.

Best Timing For Growing Tomatoes

The time at which the plant was sown and not its development stage determines the length of the weaning period. Because you should not expose your young plants tonight temperatures below 4degC, without protection. After your plants have grown their true leaves, which are the leaves that are typical for mature plants and not the first two that appear, they can usually be weaned from the heat for a few more days.

How To Maintain Humidity For Tomato Plants

Reduce the humidity gradually by turning down the heat and slowly turning off the heat. Next, open the vents and take out the lids. After the plants have been in the incubator without a cover and no heat for two days, you can take them out. However, it is important to keep an eye on night temperatures.

Night Protection in an unheated polytunnel or greenhouse

If you are growing tomato plants in an unheated polytunnel or greenhouse you will need to provide protection at night until the night-time temperature in your greenhouse/polytunnel is no cooler than about 10°C.Keep your plants warm when temperatures drop below 5°C.

General Care for Tomato Varieties

You can place tomato plants outside after all danger of frost has passed. However, they will thrive if they are kept indoors or in a greenhouse overnight until the summer when temperatures are not lower than 17°C.

You should not allow tomatoes to dry out too much if you grow them in pots. Tomatoes don’t like irregular watering. Over-watering or sporadic irrigation can cause blossom end-rot and cause the fruit to split. Avoid watering during the evening. Tomatoes require very little water at night. It is better to water in the mornings and the early afternoon.

Unless they are in one of our planters, you should feed them organic tomato fertilizer or liquid fertilizer till they become established. To encourage your tomatoes to produce fruit and flower, you can use a high-potash fertilizer.  Make sure to keep them free of weeds and watch out for common pests.

Side-shooting Tomatoes

Side-shoots in vine varieties must be removed. This involves removing new shoots between the stem and leaf. This will ensure that your tomato plant is concentrating all its energy on growing the main stem, until you remove it. Side shoots should be removed carefully, and not left with any stubs. This will encourage fungal diseases like botrytis. These side shoots can be used to grow more plants. 

Tying-in – Tomatoes up String

If you grow your tomatoes on string, it is much easier to manage the vine varieties. This string method allows you to tie your plant with string and wrap the growing point around it.

Pinching-out the growing tip

The growing tip should be removed when the plant has reached the desired height. If you don’t enjoy making chutney, don’t wait too long to remove the growing tip. When removing the growing tips, leave 2 leaves at the top of the flowering truss. This will allow the tomatoes to reach full size.

Removing Leaves

To encourage fruit ripening, taller plants may need to have the lower leaves removed. Remove the stem using a sharp knife. Take out the leaves from any low-growing tomato plants that are ripening tomatoes.

Harvesting Tomatoes

Harvest can start in May and last through October, depending on the location of your tomatoes.

Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.