Grow the juiciest tomatoes in your own ACD® Prestige greenhouse
A greenhouse without tomatoes is like a pub without beer. In a greenhouse, the conditions are more than perfect for growing the most delicious varieties yourself. A nice summer bbq? Keep those bruschettas coming! And add some cherry tomatoes for the kids.
Sowing or planting?
Are you a novice vegetable gardener? Buy tomato plants at a specialized garden center. This is the easiest and requires the least time. If you prefer something more difficult, you can sow yourself from mid-March to late April. Not earlier, because until mid-May there is a chance of night frost. Choose a good quality seedbed with perlite for good drainage, and sow half a centimeter deep. Moisten with a plant sprayer and keep the soil well moist throughout the germination process, but do not drown them. The ideal temperature for the seeds to germinate is 18-20 °C. Normally the first green sprouts should appear after a good week.
Hardening off – what?
Once your plants have grown nicely, it is important to harden them off. Tomato plants that are always kept inside have never had a ray of direct sunlight. Suddenly put them outside, and the leaves burn. You can avoid sunburn by putting them outside in the 2 weeks prior to placing them in the greenhouse. On day 1 this is half an hour. On day 3, two hours. And so you build up little by little.
You plant the tomatoes at a distance of 40 to 50 cm from each other. At the bottom of the stem you tie a wire that you lead upwards. Then you insert tomato hooks at the top of the frame of your greenhouse, to which you attach this wire. Super convenient, because you can wrap your tomato plant around your wire that way as it continues to grow.
Use a professional shade cloth to catch excess sun and bring down the temperature in the middle of summer. Also, an automatic window opener is no luxury: it ensures that the skylight itself opens when the temperature rises too high.
Never water the leaves. This will cause mold to form and your plants will eventually give up. After transplanting, water at the base, then reduce watering to once every 14 days or even once a month. The roots go deeper into the soil and search for water themselves – which makes it super easy for you and no more lugging water around. Win-win!
Once the tomato bunches are forming, you can gradually remove the lower leaves from the plant. This will give the tomatoes more light which will help them ripen faster. During the growing season, give the plants some organic fertilizer and seaweed lime to prevent nose rot.
And then you can enjoy of a tomato salad. Homemade passata. Or opt for tomato soup? Nothing matches the taste of home-harvested, sun-ripened tomatoes.
More from Sofie Maes
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