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I accidentally grew tomatoes!!

I'll be honest I'm not much of a gardener. A few low maintenance shrubs, a few flowers in some tubs, that's about it. I do compost all my peelings and vegetable leftovers from the kitchen and somehow I seem to have grown quite a nice tomato vine this year, probably because I rinsed out the compost bin and tipped it on the flower bed. It grew to five or six feet and it was pretty untidy but we got some good fruit from it. I have read some tips online about how to train it into a single stem plant next year. But now that we have reached the end of this year's growing season what do I do with it now? It's sort of hanging on the ground with some blackened leaves and some fruit that never ripened. Should I hack it all down, or dig it up or what? Will it grow back from the same root again or should I bury some of the fruit to provide a new starting point? Grateful for any advice to a complete newbie!!


  • LynLyn Posts: 21,340

    Thats why I wont put anything to do with tomatoes or potatoes in my comost bins. They spring up all over the place, dig it out and chuck it.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,939

    Dig it up, it won't survive the winter. Start again in the spring, if you want to grow them, with fresh seed or little bought plants. If it was an F1 hybrid originally it won't come true from seed anyway. Tomato seeds need warmth to germinate so seeds left outside will germinate too late to get the best crop off them. 

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Thanks everyone. Yes the plant was certainly a welcome surprise this year and I was wondering how to get it to do the same again next year, (just maybe a little tidier).

    I realise I may not have explained properly when I said I rinsed out the compost bin. I meant the caddy in the kitchen where fresh peelings and so forth goes. Not my big outdoor compost bin. There must have been some shop bought tomatoes in there that had been chucked when past their best. This plant did not appear from compost that I spread.

    OK so the consensus seems to be to rip it out and chuck it in the compost. Fair enough. I will certainly do that. But to get the same thing to happen next year, should I save some seeds out of another tomato, or plant half a tomato maybe? Around March maybe? This is a flower border quite near the house, well sheltered by another wall, but doesn't get much sun. That's why it was such a surprise to get nice healthy tomatoes. Out of the blue as far as I could see!!
  • Good subject.

    This year like many others before, I have bought seed, germinated it carefully used a heater in the greenhousde, fertilised , watered and spent perhaps overall hours and hours .Taking off side shoots etc cutting off leaves .

    This year much the same happened to me as to others who have found self seeders.

    I had one plant, and because it was not in the way let it get on.with its purpose in life to fruit.

    No watering , no feeding and the end result was loads of lovely toms all ripened but they were after the greenhouse ones and worth more to me.

    I will do the same next year by scattering some of the saved seed onto a raised bed.

    I know "blight " can be a problem but if you have a spare foot or so give it a try.

    Time spent looking after( plant  5 minutes ) when I stopped all the tips as fruit began to ripen .And time spent picking pounds and pounds of ripe toms .

    I will still grow some in the greenhouse as a belt and braces approach ,

  • Thanks so much for those replies.  Philippa that's exactly the kind of step-by-step I needed.  I sort of guessed I could do something along those lines but it's great to have it confirmed.  If I don't want to bury it in the outside compost, will it go OK in a small pot on an indoor window-sill or something like that?

    And you're right, I could go the conventional route but this has so eye-opening to me (as basically a non-gardener!) that it's got me intrigued.



  • Yikes! I might draw the line at rummaging through the toilet bowl before I flush it image

    Great advice overall though. I gather timing is everything and I'm more than happy to wait until the spring.  I might even try some a few weeks apart in Feb/March/April and see what results I get.

    The great thing about this is that it's so cheap to experiment. Sod paying a fortune for shrubs at fancy garden centres only to have them die on me within six months (well it happened once!)

    I may just become a tomato gardener!   Thanks image

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