Get involved with National Gardening Week

Growing tomatoes2

We’ve linked up with Dobbies Garden Centres for this year’s National Gardening Week 2019 (Apr 29 - May 5), with its theme of Edible Britain.

Dobbies is encouraging everyone to get involved in nurturing the nations gardening skills, sharing our very own expert green hints and tips via social media during National Gardening Week, using the tag #GrowHowKnowHow.

People up and down the UK are being encouraged by the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) to share their love of homegrown produce, and here Dobbies’ resident expert gardener, Louise Golden, offers some inspirational ideas for growing edible delights in your own garden, including tomatoes and strawberries.

How to grow your own tomatoes

Louise says: “Once you’ve tasted a home-grown tomato you’ll never look back – bursting with flavour, they simply knock the socks off anything you can buy in a shop. Best of all, growing them is easy – just sow a few seeds and you’ll be inundated with juicy tomatoes in no time.

“You don’t really need any special kit to get started, and it’s possible to grow tomatoes in containers on a patio, with some varieties even small enough to fit in a hanging basket or window box. Prepare to have loads of tomatoes by summer! You’ll soon have an endless supply for delicious salads, hearty sauces and tasty soups – and all from a few seeds.”

What you'll need:

  • Small growing pots, biodegradable if available
  • Multi-purpose compost
  • Watering can
  • Freezer bags
  • Tomato food
  • Bamboo canes

Steps

1. Fill a few plastic pots with compost and water it well – go carefully so you don’t splash water everywhere. Let excess water drain away.

2. Put seeds on the surface of the damp compost, allowing five or six per pot. Add a layer of dry compost so the seeds are just covered.

3. Put each pot in a freezer bag and keep them on a warm windowsill until seedlings appear. Remove the bags and continue to grow on.

4. When seedlings have four leaves carefully remove them from the pot and transplant them into containers of their own. Water well.

5. Watch your seedlings grow, watering regularly and putting them outside on warm days. Plant them out when they’re around 15cm high.

6. There are lots of ways to grow tomatoes. Plant them in the ground, growing bags, pots or hanging baskets – the choice is yours.

7. Start giving plants a weekly liquid feed once they begin to produce flowers – you’ll find several to choose from in-store.

8. Support plants with bamboo canes if they get big and, here’s the best bit, begin picking juicy tomatoes as soon as they appear and ripen.

And here are some more great ideas for growing homegrown produce in your garden…

Summer berries

“Once the risk of frost has passed, plant strawberries ready for a summer bounty. A strawberry planter makes a great feature on the terrace, planted with a selection of tasty varieties for an extended season of picking.”

Handy herbs

“As soon as the cold snap comes to an end, it will be the ideal time to plant your favourite culinary herbs, such as rosemary, mint and parsley, providing a plentiful supply for summer salads and BBQs. If you’re short on space, grow in containers on your patio for quick picking from the backdoor. Once any risk of frost has passed, grow pots of sweet basil for Italian recipes and home-made pesto – a delicious addition to any family barbecue!”

Edible flowers

“Did you know that some common flowers are edible? The perfect Pinterest-worthy salad topper or a pretty addition to a botanical G&T at weekend BBQs. Edible flowers include Borage, Violas, English Marigolds and Nasturtiu. Be sure to check the exact flower type, its uses and when it is in season – there’s lots of information on edible flowers on the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) website.”

 

For more great gardening ideas and advice from Louise Golden for your Avant home, visit the Dobbies Garden Centres website.