I have been growing tomatoes successfully for about 30 years both in the greenhouse and outdoors, always directly in the ground rather than in pots or grow-bags. I never take much notice of which variety I buy and have always obtained really tasty fruit. Sometimes I buy plants and sometimes I grow from seed. 

 I recently moved house and now only have a tiny greenhouse frame thing which only has room for a single grow-bag, so this year I planted three garden-centre plants in a grow-bag and another three outside in pots of 50% compost 50% earth. Again I can’t remember the variety, but I have just picked the first fruit and find that they are thick skinned and tasteless.

They have been well fed with Tomorite and watered throughout – grow-bags seem to need watering twice daily in the hot weather. 

Any ideas please?



  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    In my opinion it is all down to variety, because home-grown tomatoes usually beat supermarket tomatoes hands down.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 11,889

    I thought it was something weird about this year. I grew my usual varieties and they are thick skinned with nothing like the usual flavour. But I live in France.

  • Having trouble with tomatoes myself this year (although this is the first year in quite a while that I've attempted it and I'm in a new area with different growing conditions etc). Mine are planted in either pots or grow bags, all have grown incredibly well and have probably too many trusses of fruits. However with the exception of a few so far they are just not ripening. I have a horrible feeling that despite all of the hard work I've put in its not going to be a very successful tomato harvest this year. Only plus side is that the few that have ripened and we've been able to pick and eat have tasted like something from heaven. Like yourself I just picked random varieties so can't remember what's what but they're all behaving in the same fashion image

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Someone mentioned the same issue on here recently and Italophile answered. If you can find that thread you'll get the reason - sorry I can't remember what the answer was but weather came into it.

    The thread called 'Tomatoes'  last week (in Problem Solving ) has info about ripening if you can locate it. The search button at top of page is useful for that!

  • Thanks Fairygirl I'll have a look and see if I can hunt it out.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Heat is the key for ripening so if you can keep them cosy they should be ok! I've removed some flowers and any small fruits now from mine as they won't make it and it's a bit pointless keeping them on the plants. Even in the last few days a  lot of green fruits have turned and most of them are orange going on red. Mine are all under cover anyway as it's just not warm enough up here through the night now and it's quite Autumnal during the day - often only  15/16 degrees. 

  • Thank you. I was wondering if it might be just a heat issue. We were forecast another week of beautiful weather and I was crossing my fingers that it'd be very hot and give them the push they needed but sadly the weathermen lied (again!) and its gray and raining today and nowhere near warm enough. And our overnights have gotten a little chilly over the last couple of weeks so I might have to see what I've got that I can cozy them up with and hope for the best.

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    Heather, ripening is all down to temperature. Nothing to do with direct sunlight. Optimum temps for ripening are anything above low-20sC. They will ripen at lower temps but correspondingly slower. Once daytime temps get down to the low teens consistently you're better off taking them inside to ripen.

    Skin thickness and taste are usually down to the variety as Welshonion said above. Though, as I've reported here before, a tomato can thicken its skin in the absence of adequate moisture. It's more likely to happen in very hot weather. It's the tom's way of preserving moisture.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 11,889

    Perhaps I haven't watered enough, but I've grown tomatoes for years. It has been hot this year in the late 20s and early 30s, need rain badly. I live in Dordogne, France.

  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    I've got the same problem.


  • Italophile thank you for the info. My tomatoes certainly developed a tonne more fruit during the recent hot spell but it did cool down immediately after (a little hotter again now) so I'll give them a while longer and see how they go and then do what you suggest and bring them indoors when it cools down to low teens on a daily basis and finish them off indoors

  • XX Posts: 707

    I've got the opposite problem, I've got tomatoes coming out of my ears.  All thin skinned and lovely tasting.  imageI've grown Gardeners Delight, Moneymaker, Alicante, Sungold and Maskotka, all grown in growbags or large pots in greenhouse on NW coast of England.  Best year in ages.

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647
    Busy-Lizzie wrote (see)

    Perhaps I haven't watered enough, but I've grown tomatoes for years. It has been hot this year in the late 20s and early 30s, need rain badly. I live in Dordogne, France.

    Lizzie, it's been very high-30s for about a month now here in central Italy. If your plants are in the ground, all you can do is water very very deeply, driving the roots way underground where it's cooler and the moisture survives. I do mine about every three days.

    Paula - Well done. Sounds like you lot had a decent summer for the first time in ages.

  • dch222dch222 Posts: 5

    Thanks to all of you for your replies and advice. 

    It seems that the problem might be a combination of variety and lack of water, although I have needed to water twice a day during the warm weather here in the UK.

    Maybe the later fruit further up the plant will be better.

  • I've had similar problems with tough skins and no taste on a tumbler I bought at the Garden Centre in a plastic pot!  I have been guilty of neglecting to water very day and it dries out very quickly. Masses of fruit but tasteless. However I've moved it into the g/house and the new ripening fruits are much better!  They are getting watered with the cucs and peppers and toms and obviously not suffering the cool winds!

    my g/house toms have been a worry.....lots of fruit but its only this week I've harvested the first Ailsa Craig. They do now seem to be turning but one by one!  Pinched out now but should I continue to feed?

    i did experiment by allowing 2 additional side shoots to develop low down as well as the main stem (read it somewhere I can't recall) - could this be why I'm not harvesting until now?

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    Granny, there's no point fertilising for fruit that has already developed. That's the fruit that will ripen for you if it stays warm long enough.

    How many branches did you take off the Ailsa Craig?

  • We live in Hampshire and have the similar problem of fruits very slow in ripening.   In the Spring I sliced two growbags in half across their width and stood them on end, sowing one tomato plant in each bag after mixing growmore with the soil.   The four plants are inside mini greenhouses with plastic covers, open at the front, and have produced an abundant amount of fruit.    They are finally showing signs of turning light green/yellow and should ripen in the next couple of weeks or so.

    I use this method each year and it is very successful,  the bags are connected to my automatic watering system which waters them at 7am and 7pm for two minutes each time.

  • Italophile - I allowed the first 2 side shoots PLUS the main stem to develop and pinched out all side shoots thereafter.

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    Granny, by side shoots do you mean branches? Or the suckers that grow at the intersections of the main stem and branches?

    This is a sucker growing at a branch intersection:



  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 3,459

    Glad it's not just me that's going to have a cupboard full of green tomato chutney this year!!!  Looking on the bright side though - that's a few contributions to village tombolas / charity fundraisers / small 'thank you' gifts sorted out for the next year image

    (Gardener's Delight - grown outside - lots of fruit but just 2 red tomatoes so far which the squirrels or mice pinched before I got there image)


    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
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