British Tomato Fortnight: Top Tips For Growing Your Own

By Ellie Smith

1 year ago

Peak tomato season is coming

Where would we be without the humble tomato? Whether they’re being chopped fresh for salads, slow cooked in a sauce, or roasted on the vine, tomatoes are at the heart of so many recipes. They are one of the most versatile fruits out there (yes, they’re technically classed as a fruit rather than a vegetable), and us Brits can’t get enough: according to the British Tomato Growers Association, we spend £921m on them annually. 

While they’re available year-round in the UK, peak season runs from 29 May until 11 June, otherwise known as British Tomato Fortnight. There’s no better time to get started on growing your own at home – here we share some top tips from Mimi Morley, head chef at HelloFresh.

British Tomato Fortnight: Top Tips For Growing Your Own

Start with healthy soil

‘Tomatoes require well-drained, nutrient-rich soil to thrive. Before planting, amend your soil with organic matter like compost, aged manure, or leaf mould. This will help improve soil structure, fertility, and water retention, providing a healthy growing environment for your plants.’

Tomatoes growing in a greenhouse

Use a drip irrigation system

‘I promise, it’s not as complicated as it sounds and will benefit the quality of your tomatoes massively! Tomato plants need consistent moisture, but wet foliage can promote diseases like blight and leaf spots. Using a drip irrigation system that delivers water directly to the soil around the plants can help minimise disease risks and reduce water waste.’

Prune and support your plants

‘As tomato plants grow, they can become heavy and prone to tipping over. Using sturdy cages or stakes to support your plants and pruning away excess foliage can help prevent this. It can also improve air circulation around the plants, reducing disease risk and promoting fruit growth.’

Tomato and mozzarella salad

Choose the right variety

‘There are many varieties, each with unique characteristics like flavour, size, and growth habit. Consider factors like your climate, available space, and intended use (e.g. slicing, sauce, cherry tomatoes) when selecting a variety. Indeterminate varieties, which continue to grow and produce fruit throughout the season, are a good choice for home gardeners.’

Rotate your crops

‘Growing tomatoes in the same spot year after year can lead to soil-borne diseases and nutrient imbalances. To maintain soil health and avoid problems, rotate your tomato plants to a different part of the garden each year. Ideally, wait at least three years before planting tomatoes in the same spot again.’

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