Tour de Tomato

I thought I’d bring you up to speed on our tomato growing season which has been somewhat mixed this season. Our tomato seeds were planted on 17 August into punnets on a heat mat and started sprouting on 25 August. Seedlings were planted out on 26 October into the polytunnel. TB’s polytunnel experiment for growing tomatoes certainly started off well with flowers by 2 November and the first fruit on the Siberians and Cherry tomatoes by 21 November. The Amish Paste and Mortgage Lifters started setting fruit by 28 November. Three Brandywine tomatoes also joined this bed on 5 November courtesy of TB’s colleague at work.

We realised around Christmas that there was just not enough sunlight getting through to produce really heavy crops from the polytunnel bed. Despite this setback our first tomatoes, Siberian and Cherry have been cropping here since early January. By contrast our self sewn tomatoes, that came up from compost spread on another bed were making their presence felt by 24 November and are now the heaviest croppers of all our plants. Looking at the fruit they are producing they seem to be a mix of Roma, Amish Paste and Mortgage Lifter.

Since the rain last weekend we’ve needed to give the tomatoes some attention as we haven’t been as active as we should have in tyeing them up. Unfortunately their sprawling habit has been not a good thing in the humidity of the past week and some diseased leaves are appearing not to mention quite a few beetles that seem determined to eat their way through a fair amount of fruit. You can see the newly constrained and trained plants in the (coverless) polytunnel bed. The cat has volunteered to demonstrate just how much room there now is in this bed. The still somewhat sprawling mess are the self sewn plants which are growing in a far sunnier spot in the garden.

I’ve included a collage of all the types of tomato, except Mortgage Lifter, that we currently have cropping in our garden.

How are your tomato crops this year? My friend’s Mum was saying on Saturday night that she was disappointed that she only made 20 bottles of passata this year! Half her luck as we haven’t even got that far. We are eating plenty of tomato salads and even Fried Green Tomatoes (today’s lunch), and hope to be bottling very soon. With the tidying up lots of green tomatoes have fallen off the plants so I’m just about to launch into some more green tomato recipes courtesy of Southern Food.


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