If you are of the opinion tomatoes have lost their flavour 'Gardener's Delight' is a must for you.
Packed with bite-size fruit which are extremely sweet in flavour, they are ideal for salads and sandwiches. The true tangy flavour of tomatoes of a century or more ago, it has earned its reputation as one of our most popular tomato varieties.
Heavy cropping with long trusses of small size fruits each weighing around 14 to 18 grams, Gardeners Delight is reliable and prolific whether grown outdoors or in the greenhouse. It can be grown either as a bush or as a single stem and is often grown in containers on the patio.
Tomato 'Gardeners Delight' has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit.(AGM).
As they cannot tolerate any degree of frost the timing for sowing and planting outside is key to successfully growing tomatoes. Where the seeds are sown under cover or indoors, aim to sow the seeds so that they reach the stage to be transplanted outside three weeks after the last frost date. Tomato plants take roughly seven weeks from sowing to reach the transplanting stage. For example, if your last frost date is early May, the seeds should be planted in early April to allow transplanting at the end of May.
Tomatoes require a full sun position. Two or three weeks before planting, dig the soil over and incorporate as much organic matter as possible. They will grow well in growbags and large pots if regularly watered and fed. The best soil used for containers is half potting compost and half a soil-based type loam: this gives some weight to the soil.
Sowing: Sow from the end January to April.
Plant about 3mm (1/8in) deep, in small pots using seed starting compost. Water lightly and keep consistently moist until germination occurs. Tomato seeds usually germinate within 5 -10 days when kept in the optimum temperature range of 21-27°C (70-80°F). As soon as they emerge, place them in a location that receives a lot of light and a cooler temperature (60-70°F); a south-facing window should work.
When the plants develop their first true leaves, and before they become root bound, they should be transplanted into larger into 10cm (4in) pots. Young plants are very tender and susceptible to frost damage, as well as sunburn. Protect young plants by placing a large plastic milk jug, with the bottom removed, over them to form a miniature greenhouse.
Depending on the components of your compost, you may need to begin fertilising. If you do fertilise, do it very, very sparingly with a weak dilution.
Transplant into their final positions when they are about 15cm (6in) high. Two to three weeks prior to this, the plants should be hardened off.
Just before transplanting the tomato plants to their final position drive a strong stake into the ground 5cm (2in) from the planting position. The stake should be at least 30cm (1ft) deep in the ground and 1.2m (4ft) above ground level - the further into the ground the better the support. As the plant grows, tie in the main stem to the support stake - check previous ties to ensure that they do not cut into the stem as the plant grows.
Dig a hole 45cm (18in) apart in the bed to the same depth as the pot and water if conditions are at all dry. Ease the plant out of the pot, keeping the root ball as undisturbed as far as possible. Place it in the hole and fill around the plant with soil. The soil should be a little higher than it was in the pot. Loosely tie the plant's stem to the support stake using soft garden twine –allow some slack for future growth.
A constant supply of moisture is essential, dry periods significantly increase the risk of the fruit splitting. Feed with a liquid tomato fertiliser (high in potash) starting when the first fruits start to form, and every two or three weeks up to the end of August. In September, feed with a general fertiliser (higher in nitrogen) in order to help the plant support it's foliage.
Over watering may help to produce larger fruit, but flavour may be reduced. Additionally, splitting and cracking can result from uneven and excessive watering.
Cordon (Indeterminate) varieties of tomatoes have a central stem that produces leaves and trusses of fruit. Once a truss has been established and the first fruits begin to form, pinch out the side shoots that emerge from joins between the leaves and the stem. The plant will then concentrate on growing your chosen truss. Also remove any lower leaves which show any signs of yellowing to avoid infection and as the plant grows, remember to tie it loosely to its supporting cane.
Bush varieties don't need this intensive training. They should be sturdy enough to cope without support and there's no need to limit the amount of shoots that they develop.
Harvesting: June to September.
Harvest tomatoes as soon as the fruits are ripe, when they are fully coloured and firm, this also encourages the production of more fruit.
About a month before the average first autumn frosts, clip all blossoms and any undersized fruit off the plant. This will steer all the plant’s remaining energy into ripening what’s left.
If you have a lot of under ripe tomatoes near the end of the season, and a frost is approaching, pick them and store them indoors in a single layer away from direct sunlight to ripen.
The best way to grow tomatoes is to grow them chemical free and as organically as possible. Tomatoes require help to grow and this can often amount to an uphill struggle to keep them bug and disease free. However there are some clever little methods you can utilise to ensure a lush, organically grown crop of tomatoes.
One of the best and most universally employed methods in successful tomato growing is companion planting. Companion planting means carefully placing pest repellent plants in amongst your tomatoes so that unwanted bugs are kept away.
Two of the best companion plants for tomatoes are marigolds and basil. Both of these plants contain components, or a fragrance, that acts as a pest repellent. Bugs such as aphids, thrips, fruit fly and others are kept at bay and away from your tomato plants as they grow.
Another great herb is mint. If you plant tomatoes near a runner of mint it helps keep tomatoes healthy and even improves their flavour and growing conditions. To avoid tomato grub, plant dill and borage. These also improve overall health of tomatoes.
Remembering that potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants are all part of the Nightshade family, it is known that the leaves of these contain toxins which attract “friendly bugs,” such as ladybirds. Soak approximately two cups of tomato leaves in two cups of water the overnight, and then squeeze the water from the leaves. Strain this mixture through a fine sieve and add equal amounts of water then use as a spray. Spray above and under leaves of your tomato plants. This deters aphids and attracts bug-eating insects.
Diseases such as anthracnose, early blight and similar fungal problems are best controlled right from the word go. Follow these steps to avoid fungal problems:
1) Start with a good, clean friable soil, preferably one that has not had tomatoes planted more than once or twice in previous seasons.
2) Avoid over-composting as composts can harbour bacteria, which is harmful to tomato plants.
3) Mulch well around tomatoes to prevent excess moisture and “steaming.”
4) Water tomato plants at root level, avoiding wetting the leaves.
5) Do not tread over or disturb the root systems around tomato plants.
Another point to remember with growing tomatoes is to water regularly once tomatoes start to appear and grow. Irregular watering can initiate cracks in tomatoes. Too much water can cause them to swell faster and with the skin unable to cope, will cause cracking. Also allowing them to go without water and then watering hard to compensate for under-watering, will also result in the same problem.
Following these simple steps can help ensure you grow a crop of tomatoes you can be proud of – there really is no tomato like a home-grown tomato!
- Additional Information
Packet Size 50mg Average Seed Count 50 Seeds Common Name Cherry Tomato
Vine / Cordon (Indeterminate)
Family Solanaceae Genus Lycopersicon Species esculentum Cultivar Gardeners Delight Hardiness Half Hardy Annual Fruit Red cherry, 14 to 18 grams Height To 150cm (60in) Spacing 60cm (24in) Season Mid-Season Time to Sow Early April to End May
Eight weeks before the last frosts
Time to Harvest 65 Days from Transplanting