Tomato Sungold F1

Sungold is the taste topping tomato sensation. This cherry tomatoes unusual orange colour and intense sweet taste make it a joy to eat and is almost universally popular with amateur growers and whilst I try not to grow F1 tomatoes as you cannot save your own seed these are worth the extra expense. You are unlikely to ever see these in supermarket as their one downside is that they are prone to cracking.

Start these in a heated propagator or in a warm spot indoors Feb/March. Grow on in a frost free area. Plant out when all risk of frost is past.

In the Kitchen: These are simply the best tomatoes for flavour and are great in salads or eaten straight from the vine.

Yield and plant health: These are a cherry tomato, growing to a about 1.5 cm across.  Sungold are usually one of the earliest tomatoes and because of their high sugar content still taste good before they have reached their mature deep orange colour.  The tomatoes do crack if watering is anything less than perfect and plants can sometimes look a bit sickly but still produce good fruit.  The plants are grown as cordons so should be tied in to supports and side shoots pinched out. The yield is good but they are not blight resistant.

Grow Again: Every year

Growing:

Sow tomato seeds from January (for greenhouse/conservatory tomatoes) to April (outdoor tomatoes) and keep at a temperature of 18 a 20 degrees c. Germination should take 7 to 14 days.

I sow 6 seeds in a small seed tray, making sure there is at least an inch between  seeds. I then cover with half a centimetre of vermiculite, water and place in a heated propegator in a location that receives plenty of light.

Once your tomatoes sprout the challenge is to give them sufficient light to stop them getting leggy. A sunny window ledge in a cool room, a heated conservatory or greenhouse kept above 12 degrees c are ideal. You will need to turn tomatoes grown on a window ledge often as they will grow towards the light. You can also use LED grow lights to supplement the light they get. Gently blowing the leaves daily may also encourage them to be more stocky.

When the seedlings are large enough to handle (2-4 leaves), transplant into individual 3 inch pots. Pot on as required.  Plant out, 2-3 ft apart after al risk of frost has passed.

Cordon tomato plants require support from about  4 inches. They will then need further tying in as the plant grows. Pinch out the side shoots that grow between the stem and the leaves before they reach 2cm long. Take the tops off outdoor tomatoes after two trusses have set fruit. In unheated greenhouses after 4 trusses and in heated green houses, stop in September to allow remaining fruit to ripen.

When tomatoes are young keep the soil moist but not damp. Water from the base to reduce humid you around the leaves which encourages blight.  As they start to fruit you will need to keep them consistently watered, daily if necessary to prevent fruit putting sudden spurts of growth on and splitting.