Tomatoes with 5.5 hours sun....wishful thinking?


I have a patch (a) in my garden, the patch which gets the most sun, which gets sun from 12:30 to 18:00. Am I wasting my time trying to grow tomatoes, I mean big tomatoes? I gather 6 hours is the minimum requirement but I am hoping this is like the use by dates on food, more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule.

Last year was my first year growing veg, Up to now I have been growing courgettes and cherry tomatoes in patch a, both of those did well last year...seem to have got off to a slow start this year.

I have another patch (b) which I have cleared recently which gets sun for four hours from 09:00 to 13:00 and my plan for next year was to grow the courgettes and also leafy stuff (lettuce etc) which do not need a lot of sun in this patch, and grow tomatoes and maybe even peppers in patch a as they need more sun. If it  worked I was thinking of building greenhouse on the spot. Would I be wasting my time, is this wishful thinking?

Any advice greatly appreciated




  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,892

    I think your plans are fine - tomatoes need good light it's true, but to ripen it's warmth rather than direct sunlight that is important.

    And we have to work with what we've got rather than what we wish we had - give it a go image

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • Oh I didn't realise it was heat the the main factor in ripening, so the greenhouse would help. 

    Thanks for the reply. 

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,892

    Yes, the greenhouse will help, although I grew beefsteaks outside last year and got a reasonable crop even with the awful weather - I picked them (leaving the stalks on) and ripened them indoors on  warm windowsills.  

    Do try not to over-water your tomatoes - let the soil dry out between waterings, even if the leaves wilt a little - and keep the leaves dry - that will help to prevent fungal diseases - also keep the greenhouse well ventilated for the same reason - a good flow of air through the greenhouse is really important.

    Hope it all goes well and if we can be of more help don't hesitate to ask - we always like to see photos too, of successes as well as problems - it's good to share image

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • That's some invaluable information right there image

    I will certainly post photos 

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Dove's right - light and warmth is really all they need so your greenhouse would be great but the ventilation is vital to prevent diseases. I'm in Scotland and we don't get the amount of sun and heat for prolonged periods so I just wouldn't try growing them outside without some protection - mine are just in those little plastic growhouses and doing fine. Everything has been slow this year because of the terrible spring- don't worry - we're all in the same boat!

    Good luck with them!

  • Thanks, I am in London, my garden is West facing with some big trees nearby hence the lack on sun. Greenhouse will probably be the season after next but will bare that in mind re ventilation. 

    So do you think courgettes will do OK with four hours.

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    China, 6 hours of sun a day is generally considered the minimum for optimum production of toms in concert with temps in at least the low 20sC. They will still produce with fewer hours and lower temps but on a sliding downwards scale.

    As Dove says, warmth is the key to ripening. They don't need direct sunlight. That's why toms will ripen inside on a kitchen bench.

  • OK well I will give it a go. Thanks eveybody.

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