🍅 and 🌶 Make The Perfect Greenhouse Companions For Gardeners
Tomatoes and chillies aren’t just a ✨magic✨ combination in the kitchen. They’re also well-matched greenhouse companions. Pairing up plants that thrive in the same conditions is a really efficient way to grow your own food (and in this case has the potential to result in the spicy pasta sauce of your dreams). So, here are a few tips on growing hearty, healthy tomato and chilli plants.
Choosing your varieties
There are so many varieties of chillies and tomatoes out there, it’s almost mind blowing. Obviously, what you choose to grow depends on the space you have and your personal tastes. With tomatoes you’ve got everything from small, sweet cherry varieties that the kids will love, to robust plum tomatoes that’ll keep you in passata for the rest of the year. With chillies, it goes without saying that you’ll need to tread a bit more carefully. Get your Anaheims mixed up with your Nagas and your tastebuds (and the kids) will not thank you.
Sowing your seeds
Once you’ve selected the tomato and chilli varieties you want, just fill your pots or trays with some good quality seedling compost and get sowing. From mid-March onwards tends to be the right time to start in the UK. If you are planting seeds, don’t be tempted to crowd too many into your containers – give them plenty of room (at least an inch apart) to do their thing. A light covering of compost, gentle, regular watering and a warm sunny spot in the greenhouse are all they need to start germinating.
(If you want to learn more about sowing tomato and chilli seeds, watch our very own Rik’s tomato and chilli grow-along.)
Potting up and Transplanting
About 4 weeks after planting, the seedlings should be big enough to be potted on. Anything over a 5-inch pot should do the job. If you began in mid-March, your seedlings should be ready to plant into their final destination by roughly the beginning of May – whether that’s a large pot, grow bag or veg patch. If your plants won’t be spending a lifetime of luxury in the greenhouse, you’ll want to harden them off for at least a week or so before planting out so they can acclimatise. Wherever they’re going, tomatoes and chillies like well-drained, sheltered, sunny places with plenty of organic matter in the soil.
It’s also a good idea to think about how your plants are positioned in relation to one another if you’re growing them together. Some tomato varieties can get quite large, so make sure that they won’t be blocking out any precious rays of sun for adjacent chilli plants.
Ongoing plant care
Both tomatoes and chillies appreciate regular watering and a good feed now and again, particularly after the flowers have died off. Most gardeners pinch out the side shoots on cordon tomatoes and slow-growing chilli plants to increase yield. Your plants may also need staking as they grow, depending on the varieties you’ve chosen. Give them plenty of tender loving care and by late July/early August you should be reaping the rewards of all your hard work! And the great thing is that anything you don’t eat can be preserved. Who doesn’t want a winter pantry full of sundried tomatoes, home grown sauces and dried chillies?
At the moment, our Harvst mini greenhouses are packed with tomato and chilli seedlings, so Summer’s looking pretty tasty already. If you’d like to know more about how a Harvst smart mini greenhouse could help you grow your own food at home, get in touch or check out our video.