Monday, 2 July 2012

Am I wasting my time?

Rain overnight – again.
Rain in the morning – again
Rain forecast for everyday this week – again.

Too wet to work outside, can't get on the soil whilst it is like this. Perfect day to spend many happy hours in the greenhouse, door ajar, Classic FM quietly in the background.  Numerous bags of potting compost later the greenhouse is transformed. It was hard to choose three tomato plants of each variety to grow on but I've done it (apart from the Red Cherry which had a very poor germination and I only have two plants). For my benefit because the blog is the only place I can (just about) guarantee to find something at a later date:

Costoluto Fiorentino (Seeds of Italy/Franchi)
Heirloom, ugly, ribbed Tuscan beef.

Salt Spring Sunrise (free gift from HSL)
Determinate Bush. Developed British Columbia, Canada. Very Early variety. Grower comments: “Fruit caried in size from 50g – 200g with good flavour. Best cooking tomato ever, no blight”.

Red Cherry (Seeds of Italy/Franchi)
Baby Plum Tomato. Produces sweet red oval fruits ideal for containers. Dates back to 19th century

Principe Borghese (Seeds of Italy/Franchi)
A traditional variety used for sun drying with egg sized, meaty fruits. Pull the plant up at the end of the season and hang upside down in a cool airy place and pull until Christmas

I hardened my heart and put all the cucumber plants on the compost heap. I struggle to grow them well in a good year and it's so cold at night that I can't see the point of wasting soil and space with them. One day last week the overnight greenhouse temperature was 7.9 degrees C. In Spring we wait for the temp to RISE to seven so we can think about sowing seeds ... sheesh.

Although some of the tomato plants appear to be growing strongly, especially the Principe Borghese, the root structure was much less than I expected. Sowing late should have worked but a dreadfully cold May meant that seedlings either didn't germinate or, when they popped their heads above the soil said “sod that for a game of tiddly-winks” and didn't develop for ages. Fingers crossed the plants start to grow faster now and I have something resembling a crop this year, no tomatoes two years running would be dire. At least the marigolds are doing well.

Chilli pepper* and aubergine** are also settled into their summer homes, “all” I need to do now is put up supports for all the plants but at the rate they are (not) growing I don't have to rush out with timber and a screwdriver.

I brought some of the hardy perennials in from the nursery to give the trays a chance to dry out. Plants are growing well but the plugs are too damp to move and some need potting on, some might even find themselves going directly into the garden.

* seems to have disappeared from their catalogue
Grisu' ibrido: Early, hot variety. Vigorous. Medium-sized plant. Produces meaty, cone shaped fruits, smooth dark green skin turning red when ripe. Can be grown indoors or out.

** Moneymaker. Left-over Sarah Raven seed which does not fill me with confidence ...

The pictures are a con :} I know I took photos when I'd finished in the greenhouse but I can't find them - obviously hiding from the rain in a mis-named folder.  Took some more the day I published this (two weeks later) so the plants are much further on than when I potted everything up.  And I still haven't put the tomato supports up . . .


  1. The weather's been a real problem for all gardeners, my uncle has given up with his allotment this year as it's so waterlogged. What a shame. Let's hope we get a hot August and the toms put on a spurt of growth.

    1. Hi Sewali, well it's taken me so long to thank you for the comments that our weather has turned. Yesterday was warm for the first time and right now the humidity is about 125% because we just had a brief shower. Lovely :}

  2. We are all in the same boat (almost literally!) this year. At least you have a greenhouse to play in when it's raining!

    1. thanks Hazel, trouble is, it has been too cold to enjoy being in the greenhouse as much as I would like :{


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