Gardeners Delight tomato is the most popular tomato variety because it’s so easy to grow. It’s a happy little plant that thrives in the sunshine and requires very little care. The tomatoes that the Gardeners Delight plant produces is also considered to have the best flavour and texture of all the other varieties grown in the UK.
Save a little space in your garden and use these tips for successfully growing a couple of Gardeners Delight this summer.
Best Location For Growing Gardeners Delight Tomatoes
All tomato plants are sun-lovers and will need to be planted in a location that provides them 6-8 hours of sunlight each day.
The amount of space the location needs to provide will depend on if you are planting bush plants or vining plants. Bush varieties are excellent for growing in containers and small garden spaces because they remain small and compact. Vining plants will grow tall and will need to be supported in some way to keep the tomatoes off the ground.
The roots of tomato plants grow deep and spread out in search of moisture during the growing season. Loose soil that is rich in organic matter will allow the roots to grow and will help keep the tomato plant fed and hydrated.
Organic matter, like compost, feeds the soil so it can feed the plants. Compost will also promote good drainage, air circulation, and help prevent soil compaction. Before planting Gardeners. Delight, incorporate plenty of compost into the soil.
Seeds or Plants
Gardeners Delight can be started indoors from seeds about 6-weeks before the last frost in spring. Start them indoors in bio-degradable cups so the cups can be planted directly into the soil and the plant roots will not be disturbed.
Keep containers of seeds and sprouts in a warm location away from drafts and keep soil moist at all times. After all danger of frost has passed in the spring, transplant seedling into larger containers or plants directly into prepared garden soil.
Plants can be purchased at your local garden supply center and can be planted in spring after all danger of frost has passed. Tomatoes are warm-season vegetables and will not grow until soil and air temperatures have warmed in the spring, so don’t be in a rush to get the seedling transplanted outdoors.
Place plants 2-feet apart or plant in a 12-inch wide container that is also 12-inches deep.
Determinate or Indeterminate
These are the two main varieties of tomatoes and the variety you grow should be determined by space and usage.
Determinate tomatoes will grow to a specified height, usually around 3-feet, and produce ripe tomatoes at the same time. After the tomatoes have ripened the determinate plant will begin to die.
Indeterminate tomatoes will be produced and ripen on the tall-growing vines all summer. The plants will continue to grow all summer until the first killing frost of autumn. Indeterminate tomato plants can reach up to 8-feet tall and will need to be supported.
Determinate tomatoes are excellent for canning, freezing, and dehydrating since you will have an abundant crop ripe all at the same time. Indeterminate tomatoes will provide you with fresh eating tomatoes for several months during the summer.
Tomato plants will grow an endless supply of suckers that suck the energy from the plant and cause it to produce smaller tomatoes. Keep the plants pruned so it can produce larger and better quality tomatoes.
Suckers are side shoots that develop at the ‘V’ formation between the main plant stalk and the branch. Pinch off all suckers that develop below the first blossoms on the tomato plants. Above the first blossoms, only pinch off some of the suckers to keep the plant easy to manage. Prune off the top of the plant to halt the top growth if it’s getting too tall for its support.
Harvesting and Storing
Gently twist tomatoes off the vine or snip them off with shears to prevent damaging the plant. Tomatoes can be harvested at any stage of growth and eaten raw or cooked. Green tomatoes have a tart flavour that is enjoyed in salads, fried, or when made into pickles. Partially ripe tomatoes can be harvested and placed on a sunny windowsill to continue the ripening process.
Placing tomatoes in the refrigerator stops the ripening process. Store them in a cool, dark place after harvesting.
Common Problems and Treatments
- Blossom end rot is a small dark circle that develops on the blossom end of a tomato. Irregular watering and/or lack of calcium in the soil is the cause of this common problem. To prevent blossom end rot, water plants deeply and regularly. Mix ½-cup of Epsom Salt into a gallon of water and water plants as usual to increase the calcium level in the soil. To prevent blossom end rot in the future, incorporate a generous amount of Epsom Salt into the soil before planting tomatoes.
- Blight is caused by wet weather and it causes the tomatoes and the plants to rot. If caught early, the blighted leaves can be removed and the plant treated with fungicide.
- Cracking does not impact the flavor of the tomato but it can create an opening in which mold and bacteria can enter the ripening tomato. Prevent cracking by feeding the plants regularly and ensuring good light exposure and air circulation.