This is by far the easiest option in the UK. Plants are widely
available at almost all garden centres from April onwards.
Look for sturdy plants with several 'branches' and dark green leaves,
reject any which have yellowing leaves. Tomatoes love moisture,
so don't purchase any where the compost has dried out, this will
slow the plant's growth.
Size is not really important with tomato plants, small healthy examples
should always be preferred over larger not so good ones. Small
healthy plants will catch up with larger ones in a matter of weeks.
The plants can only be planted outside when all danger of frost has
passed. Plants bought before this time will need to be kept in
a sunny frost free place until the danger has passed. Refer to
article for more details on planting your tomatoes. The plants
can be given a head start if you cover the planting area with a
cloche or a sheet of black plastic a month before planting -
this will warm the soil by three or four degrees F.
Gardener's Delight (left)
The disadvantage of buying the plants rather than sowing them
yourself, is that the range of varieties is extremely
Research at local garden centres shows a maximum of
four varieties available. Of these, we would always recommend
Gardener's Delight or Sungold for outdoor culture. They crop
well, are tasty and fairly resistant to disease.
See our page devoted entirely to selecting the correct variety of
tomato for your garden. Click here to go there now.