'ball watering' give the plants a good soak to settle the soil around the roots.JPG

Tomatoes prefer a well-drained soil or growing medium which encourages a deep and healthy root system.

finished planting.JPG

Organic matter is essential to develop and maintain good soil structure – well-made garden compost is ideal.  The best way to find out the nutrient status of your soil is to have it analysed – The RHS offers a soil analysis service.  Tomatoes prefer a soil pH in the range 6.0 - 6.5 i.e. slightly acid, but this is a bit too low for some crops such as lettuce and brassicas, so you might need to aim at between 6.5 and 7.0.  However don’t apply lime immediately before planting tomatoes unless the pH is below 6.0. 

You should aim to apply all of the Phosphorus and Magnesium needed for the whole season, part of the Potassium (also known as potash) but little or no Nitrogen, or else you will get lots of lush growth and your flowers won’t ‘set’ fruit.  Don’t forget that your garden compost should contain a lot of nutrients.  In the absence of a soil analysis, apply a high-potash fertilizer according to the recommendations on the packet; fork in the fertilizer or compost to a depth of about 20cm.

Grow bags and containers

If you are using grow bags make sure they are placed on a firm surface, slightly sloping away from your path. If you’re using pots or other containers, the bigger the better, not less than 12 litres per plant; fill them with a good quality growing medium recommended for containers.


Tomatoes need about 0.4 sq m (4 square feet) per plant, so you can plant them 60cm X 60cm (2ft X 2ft) or 46cm (18 inches) between in the row and 87cm (2½ ft) between rows.


By the time conditions are suitable for planting, you may be able to see the first truss in bud or just opening. Your plants may need a small cane to support them if they start to flop over. It is very important to remove the first truss shoot early so that you get a strong first truss.  This is a side-shoot that grows in the axil below the first truss.  For details of how to remove side-shoots see our helpful video on YouTube: Twisting Tomatoes - (training and side-shooting tomatoes)

Make a hole with a trowel, and plant as deep as possible without burying any of the leaves, or covering the graft union (if your plants are grafted). 

fleece close up.JPG fleece tunnel landscape.JPG fleece tunnel portrait.JPG healthy root development.JPG IMG 6644.JPG inserting wires to support temporary crop cover.JPG make a hole with a trowel.JPG plant as deep as possible without burying any leaves.JPG support each plant with a cane.JPG use a garden line to get your rows straight.JPG using a rubber band to hold the plant to the cane.JPG wire supports in place.JPG

Fact 06

Did You Know?

Approximately 2,500 skilled people are currently employed in the British tomato industry.

Roly Holt

Meet the grower

Roly Holt

R & L Holt is a family business in the historic Vale of Evesham originally formed in 1979 by Ric…

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