Sunday, 23 June 2019

Late-planted tomatoes

I've rescued some more tiny tomato plants, self-seeded in the shingle outside my kitchen window, where last year I grew "Maskotka" and "Montello" plants.

Having potted them up, I'm keeping them indoors for the time being, because of the continuing bad weather. Although small, they look to be nice plants.

I'd normally say that it is far too late to plant out tomato plants, but recent experience suggests that this may not be so. Last year the transition from Autumn to Winter was very late, and I picked my last ripe tomatoes in November, so these plants probably have at least 3, maybe 4 months in which to do their thing.

Furthermore, last year I saved some little plants exactly like this (from the same source) and kept them indoors over the Winter. They went very straggly because of the low light levels, but once they were potted-up in April and began to get some fresh air and sunshine they started to recover their vigour.

Over-Wintered tomato plants immediately after potting-up, 21st April

Just look at them now - they are the three at the Right in the photo below (taken on Thursday). The other one is a new-season "Montello".

These plants are in the same place as last year's ones - below our kitchen window. It faces South-West, which is ideal for tomatoes as it gets all the afternoon and evening sun. The plants also help to disguise the ugly pipe-work, drain covers and electricity meter-box!

One of these plants produced just two fruit several weeks ago (no photo of them at ripe stage, though we definitely did eat them), so I know from the shape of the fruit that it was a "Maskotka" plant. The other type I grew in this location, "Montello", has plum-shaped fruits.

Early fruits on over-Wintered "Maskotka"
I'm not sure which variety the other two plants are - they could be either, and I'll probably only know when they set fruit. One of them is quite tall, so possibly a "Montello".

The other is much more compact, so more likely to be a "Maskotka".

I don't really mind which type these turn out to be, because I like both. I have to say that whilst "Maskotka" is a long-time favourite and has excellently-flavoured fruit, it was out-performed by "Montello" last year, in terms of quantity of fruit produced.

Just in case anyone else should be persuaded to try something similar, I suppose I should point out that late-planted tomatoes will be much more likely to get Blight. In my part of the world Blight is most likely to appear in August or early September - though of course a lot depends on the weather. One of the attractions of small, bush-type tomato plants like the ones I have been writing about is that they are usually early croppers, so you can hopefully get a harvest before the Blight appears.


  1. What kind of fertilizer do you use on these potted tomatoes? And how often? Thanks!

  2. I use a proprietary liquid feed called "Tomorite", applied once a week after plants have begun flowering. I also apply homemade Comfrey Tea when available - which is not very often!

    1. Thanks. I found something similar by searching for "liquid tomato food with seaweed 4-3-8". Interesting that UK does not have the N-P-K in a prominent location on the label that the US does. I am going to try it.

  3. Hi Mark, this is very interesting. I planted some Red Robin very late last year too and moved them into my conservatory in October, they fruited well until January. I took cuttings from them in December and they fruited in April. I count this as a major success, but there were downsides, the leaves often developed a white mould and proved to be a host for greenfly to over-winter too. I also planted peppers late and we harvested those until February. I'm planning to keep experimenting and trying different varieties : All the best - Steve

    1. Hi Steve; Yes, I know what you mean about the dangers of overwintering plants! For some years now I have been overwintering chillis, but they always get infested by aphids, and I think I am going to give up this practice. My saved tomates were just a whim! They went very pale and exceptionally leggy, but they are doing OK now.

  4. We had a self sown tomato growing in one of the pots in our greenhouse so, Martyn potted it up and it is now flowering. We will see what the tomatoes are like if we get any as presumably if it’s an F1 hybrid they’ll be quite different. Strange isn’t it as we would’ve never sown tomato seeds in the greenhouse to overwinter by choice.


Thank you for taking time to leave me a comment! Please note that Comment Moderation is enabled for older posts.