Seed Tube Vegetables - Tomato Alicante
Solanum lycopersicum L.
Tomato ‘Alicante’ is a generally superior variety possessing all the things we look for in a tomato, including an RHS AGM! Early in the season it produces heavy crops of medium sized, greenback free fruits with a superb sweet flavour. This productive and reliable tomato is best grown as a cordon either in the greenhouse or outdoors in a sheltered, sunny spot.
For greenhouse cultivation: sow from February to March.
For outdoor cultivation: sow from March to April.
Sow seeds on the surface of a good, free-draining, damp, seed sowing mix and cover with a fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Place seed trays in a propagator at a constant temperature of around 15-20C (59-68F) until after germination, which takes 7-14 days. When seedlings gain 2 true leaves, transplant into individual 7.5cm (3″) pots of compost and grow on at a minimum temperature of 15C (59F).
When growing in a heated glasshouse tomato plants may be transplanted at the end of May or when the first flowers are showing, if earlier. Allow 3 plants per growbag, or one per 25cm (10″) pot, or plant tomatoes directly into the greenhouse soil.
When growing tomatoes outdoors, wait until all risk of frost has passed before transplanting tomatoes. Gradually acclimatise them to outdoor conditions over 7 – 10 days before planting out from early June when tomato plants are 20cm (8″) tall. Choose a sheltered position in full sun on fertile, reliably moist, well drained soil, and transplant at a distance of 60cm (24″) apart. Drive a (5′) cane into the soil adjacent to each plant to support them as they grow, and tie each main stem to its support with soft garden twine.
For more sowing information read our blog 'How to Sow & Grow'
Water tomato plants frequently, to keep the compost evenly moist. Feed tomatoes regularly with a high potash plant food once the first truss of fruit has formed.
Tie the main stems to their supports and remove any sideshoots that develop between the main stem and the leaf stems. Once the plant has produced 6 or 7 trusses, pinch out the top of the main stem. This process of “sideshooting” and “stopping” will increase the availability of light and air movement around the developing fruit, and focus the plants energy on producing a good crop of high quality tomatoes. Tomatoes can be harvested as they ripen from July to September.