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Outdoor Tomatoes

A bit of a gamble here in Yorkshire - especially as our seasons are changing, with slightly earlier springs, and autumns becoming milder, wetter, and often frost-free.
Traditional outdoor tomatoes were bred for a short growing season. They went outside after the last frost, grew for about 12 weeks, and then first September frost killed them. The season is now longer - but the warmer autumn means the tomato plants get blight (probably in August).
It is worth selecting bush varieties developed for short, northern seasons - The Kitchen Garden suggested Imur Prior Beta, Sasha Altai, Siberia, Santiem, Budai torpe, Sub Arctic Maxi, Gem State.
Or grow dwarf varieties in pots - they tend to mature earlier.
How to
* Sow seed around 21st March - 2 inches apart in trays.
* Pot them into 3.5 inch pots, and then 9 or 10 inch pots (for pot grown tomatoes), or into 5 inch pots if the plants are going into your beds.
* Harden them off gently, and plant outdoors when the flowere of the first truss are opening, and soon after the last frost date - probably in early June.
* Water them before planting out.
* Best to plant them through slits in a black plastic sheet* Water regularly - the soil must be kept moist throughout the season.
* Bush varieties, as above, will not need supports, trimming or stopping - easy!
* Harvest the fruit when they are ripe and fully coloured - and before the disease season starts. At the end, you can pick all the green tomatoes, place them in a tray in a drawer with a couple of ripe apples to ripen them (or make Love-Apple Pie!).







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