Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Tomato time

Last year was a complete write-off as far as tomatoes were concerned so fingers are crossed for a bumper harvest in 2013.  For once I didn't sow enough seeds to supply all of West Cumbria and have made my life considerably easier!

The plants have been growing well under cover and today I moved them all into the final pots and position.

The wooden "A" frames continue to be perfect for supporting the canes at the bottom end of the greenhouse.

Nearer to the door I was delighted that my cunning plan to adapt the staging made from Stanley sawhorses has worked.  Very little dismantling was required to fit in another six plants.  Two people don't need 18 plants* in the greenhouse and for now we'll just whisper about the half dozen extras which are now in the cold frame and destined for another location tomorrow ... but I have fantasies about growing enough to make my own sun-dried tomatoes.

On the other side of the door the strawberry plants smell wonderful.  Each plant doesn't seem to be producing huge numbers of fruit but that which has set is huge!

* six each of:-

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

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"


  1. Yes, too many plants, but just think of all you can make and store for the winter months. (Soup, sauce, semi-dried just for a start.) Have you ever tried the yellow ones? I did last year and they sweet and acid-free. Think I may try some black ones also this year depending on where we are.

    1. Yes, I grew a tiny yellow variety a few years ago (racks brain : fails to recover any data). As you say, very sweet and tasty but I didn't like the colour - my grey matter does not cope well with food that doesn't "look right" and yellow tomatoes, or black ones for that matter, don't look as my brain thinks they "should".

  2. I've not had great success with Costoluto, but then, my toms grow in the courtyard garden and are not pampered in the g/h like yours are. ;-)

    Red Cherry, on the other hand I have found are fab fab fab. Do try Piccolo next year, too, as a really tasty (large) cherry tom. My seeds came from toms grown in E Yorks, so should be good for your location too - let me know if you'd like a few.

    You'd be able to see mine if I got off my idle bum and updated the Hill blog too........

    1. Hi Hazel, C.F. did well here in the g/h's first year but not since. They need lots of warmth and sunshine.

      Red Cherry failed last year - along with everything else.

      Piccolo seeds would be most welcome, thank you. Homegrown cherry toms, olives, chunk of crusty bread and some smelly cheese = perfect lunch!

  3. They are about at the same stage as ours and we growth plenty too - some in the garden greenhouse and some in the plot greenhouse. As you say this way there are plenty for freezing in different ways. Never tried sun drying though.

    1. Sue, not so much "sun-dried" as dehydrator-dried :}
      Here's a link that talks sense, I am sure there are many others if you Google.

  4. I'm trying Costoluto Florentino for the first time this year. I've got plants in the greenhouse and outdoors so I'll be able to make a comparison which do best. I've got thirteen plants in total this year, more than I've ever grown before, but seeing as I'm the only one in the family who eats tomatoes (apart from Archie who tries his best to pinch them off the plants when they're still green), I should have plenty, so I'm hoping to make some sauces too. Hope Daisy's feeling better now that the buttercups have all been mown.

    1. Jo, I had good success with CF a couple of years ago (it needs a 'proper' hot summer) and loved the size, taste and ludicrous appearance!

      Must come over to The Good Life and see how you're getting on, sorry I have been a bit AWOL recently.

      Daisy says 'thank you', she's still scratching a bit but is definitely on the mend.

  5. Hope you get enough to dry - I dry my Rose Quartz tomatoes. They are tangy when fresh, but dry sweet and chewy. Haven't had the wherewithall to do up any in the past couple years, though. Next time I'll try another variety - something with less seeds I'm thinking. Good luck with your lot.

    1. Thanks Kris, I read a tutorial somewhere online for drying toms and it suggested taking out the seeds first. Don't think I'll bother with that, sounds like just making extra work :}


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