How to Grow Giant Tomatoes
Below is a picture of Dan McCoy from USA who on the 22nd August 2014 grew the worlds largest tomato weighing 8.41lbs
Ian Neale with his UK record Tomato weighing 2.60kg 5lb 11.5ozs
Select a type of seed that produces giant tomatoes, we have our own stock available to purchase and these have grown the UK's largest tomato pictured above
Information below on how we grow ours.....
Ideally the plants should be grown under cover. The soil has to be dug in the autumn with well-rotted manure. During mid February to early march, the soil should be dug and then rotovated mix compost, manure and peat moss. The moss is acidic and will help prevent fungus growth, since you are going to be watering more than usual. I also use 10-52-10 fertilizer to help promote good root growth once the plant is placed into its site. It should be left for a couple of weeks to settle. Towards the end of march, the soil should be treated with a base fertilizer such as vitax gr124 and chicken manure pellets. Tomatoes should be grown on a large mound.
If you start your seeds too early, the fruit will be ready too early. Most tomatoes only take 80 days or so to mature. So count back from your show date 80 days or so and add a couple days for the cool September weather. If your show date is the first week in October you should start them around the first of May. The tomatoes you plant for eating will be started around April 1. I start the seeds on the 1st, 15th, and the 30th of May. I stagger the dates to hopefully have my tomatoes ripe for the show. A ripe tomato only has a shelf life of two to three days so it's the real guessing game.
The tomato seed should be started off in pots in a mixture of compost and vermiculite with a 6 month feed added for essential feeding for the young plant (miracle grow slow release / osmocote) to aid germination, ensure that the seeds are kept under a temperature of 60 - 65 degrees. The seeds are to be planted close to the surface with a dusting of compost.
The plants are to be planted out at the start of June when the soil has warmed and the nights are longer. Usually when the weeds start to grow, the soil is right for planting / germination of seeds. As with all seedlings ensure that they are given adequate frost protection and guarded from those deadly slugs! Apply a handful of slug pellets to the area.
Growth and Feeding
You must keep the plant evenly moist, not wet. If you water too much the skin of the fruit cracks. Care should be taken to ensure that the tomatoes are not allowed to dry out as differences in the moisture of the soil may cause the tomatoes to have blossom end rot. Three times a week I mix a small amount of water soluble fertilizer (20-20-20) in with the water every time I water the plants. This keeps the plant fed at an even pace
Once the plant begins to flower, I pinch off the first couple of clusters to keep the tomatoes off the ground. Examine the new clusters that come up after that for misshaped and double blossoms. Sometimes you find 2 flowers on one stem, these ones have good potential. Thin the remaining clusters of tomatoes to 2 or 3 and watch their progress. Eventually you will pinch off all the smaller tomatoes, and keep one tomato per cluster. You now have five or six tomatoes per plant. As time progresses you can cut them back until there is only one or two tomatoes per plant. These are the ones you hope will be the winning tomatoes. Pinch off the top of the plant. During this time of fruit selection, make sure you have been trimming the plant of excessive growth and spraying for insects and fungus. You should make sure that you leave enough foliage to shade your prize-winning tomato and provide a place for excessive water to go incase of accidental over watering. Keep your water and fertilising program going right up to the vegetable show.
The tomatoes should be suported when they are growing. We use a sponge to act as support for the fruit and this is tied to poles running directly above the plant. This is a must as the weight of the tomato will make the truss bend and restrict its growth.
I also put in a 2"x 2" post where each plant is to be set into the soil to help support the plant. Most if not all tomatoes are indeterminate and you will have to control them by pinching off excessive growth. Try to allow only two main vines to grow up along the post. I pinch off the lower leaves so nothing touches the soil. I also use an old 1 gal. coffee can with a hole in the bottom, set 1/2" inch into the ground at the base of the plant. Bugs than have a hard time accessing the plant with this around the base of the plant.
The ideal location for the setting of a tomato is at around 3 to 4 trusses high.
There is alot of trial and error involved in growing giant tomatoes. Hopefully following these instructions will help you show up with a prize-winning tomato. Keep a record of your tomatoes circumference. Each year you can compare previous years growth. Try to select a tomato that is perfectly round as these tend to be the heaviest.
In order to save seed from the tomato, at the end of the shows, the tomato should be kept in a cool environment to aid the development of the seeds. Keep it in a garage for a couple of weeks and then harvest the seeds. To do this you have to peel back the outer layer (skin) of the tomato and look into the channels of the tomato. You should see lots of seeds.
After the seeds have been selected, the seeds then need to be dried in newspaper for two weeks, this will ensure that they are sound for next season. Take out the seeds that are showing signs of dampness / mildew.