" It is thanks to this fruit, which evokes both summer sweetness and childhood memories, that many gardeners have become aware of the incredible diversity of vegetable plants. These fruits have become the symbol of vegetable gardens where natural methods, curiosity and greed go hand in hand.
There are a large number of tomato varieties, differentiated by their earliness, shape, colour and uses. The different colours of the tomato are due to a group of pigments: carotenes. Tomatoes contain two main carotenes: lycopene, which gives the red colour, and beta-carotene, which gives the orange colour. It is the interaction of the skin and flesh colours that determines their colour.
You can start your tomato seedlings between the end of February (in a heated seedbed) and mid-March. Tomato seedlings need warmth, they will only germinate at a minimum temperature of 20°C day and night. Fill cups or a clod press (50 mm) with sowing soil, insert the seeds a few mm deep and cover with soil. Water your cups or clods well, but do not allow the soil to become soggy. Place your pots in a greenhouse in the light and at a temperature of 20°C.
When the shoots have put out their first two leaves, they can be transplanted into individual pots and kept at a temperature above 10°C. When frosts are no longer a concern, planting is possible from April to June (when the plants have reached 12 to 15 cm), keeping a spacing of 1 m between rows and 0.5 m between plants. Plant the plants in an open, light and airy place. The soil should be amended but reasonably, home-made compost ploughed in during the spring is ideal.
Dig a small trench 10 cm wide and 15 or 20 cm deep and place cut nettles or comfrey at the bottom, dried for a few days in the sun.
Cover with soil and then plant the tomatoes, taking care to leave a dozen centimetres in the open air in order to increase rooting and avoid breaking fragile stems (limit watering).
Removing the suckers is not compulsory. It is up to you whether you prefer to prune or remove the suckers from your tomato plants. In this case, adjust the planting distances. It is recommended that tomatoes be staked: although this is not essential, it will greatly facilitate the harvest.
Disease and pests
The main pests or diseases of tomatoes are downy mildew, apical necrosis or black-bottom disease of tomatoes (linked to irregularities in water and calcium supply) but also aphids and whiteflies.
Good to know
Tomatoes will appreciate regular applications of foliar stimulants such as nettle, horsetail (rich in silica) or comfrey during the season. Tomatoes appreciate regular watering.
See our collection of different tomato varieties in the park's vegetable garden!
To order your tomato seeds, go to the website of our partner and supplier, the Sainte Marthe Farm. You will also find seeds from the Sainte Marthe Farm for sale in our shop on the park.
For more information, see the article " Growing tomatoes successfully ".