Month by month guide to growing tomatoes

I am basing this rough guide on northern Brittany where I live. Temperatures will be similar to the south coast of the UK, just slightly higher by a few degrees. We have a little snow every few years and chances of frost from late December to the end of April. You will have to tailor the dates to suit your location. Please read more information about each subject further on in the book.

Theses guide lines also apply to other indoor crops like; cucumbers, melons, peppers and chilies. 


 January/February – Sow seeds if you have a heated propagator and somewhere frost free to raise the plants before spacing out fully.

March – Sow seeds with heat and frost protection, to set plants out end of April, so less space required when raising small plants in a frost free section.

April - Space out plants in greenhouse at the end of April. Keep an eye on the weather forecast for late frost and have fleece sheets handy. Purchase commercial grown your plants. This is all very weather dependant though.

May – Transplant into the soil from when you see first trusses. Start feeding with a high nitrogen feed when you also see first trusses. Start removing small side shoots. Tie up plants. Keep poly-tunnels well ventilated during the day and also at night if warm. This discourages diseases.

June – If your plants are nice and strong change feed to standard high potash tomato feed. Depending on when your seeds were sown, you should start picking tomatoes from early June. Remove leaves up to where you are picking or just above. Keep de-shooting.

July – If you find your plants are loaded with fruit and the heads are getting thin, feed with a high nitrogen feed for a few weeks. Usually some flower feeds have a high nitrogen ratio, check the label and the NPK values.

August – (end) Stop plants by cutting head off. Stop feeding. Remove more leave to expose ripening sized fruit.

September – If getting too cold, you can remove some green tomatoes and put in a bag with a banana to help ripening. If sheltering other plants in the greenhouse, clear out tomatoes and disinfect early.

October/November – Leave tomatoes on plants or pick some to ripen indoors. Remove plants, but burn any affected by blight. Wash down greenhouse and soil with disinfectant if possible.

December – Top up raised beds/troughs with well-rotted compost and some fresh clean soil. Add well-rotted compost if growing directly into the soil. Choose varieties to grow for next year.