Friday, 26 September 2014


This season I've read a lot of blog posts saying that many  people were having a dreadful time with their tomatoes.  Contrarily, we had one of the best years and I put this down to the raised beds we constructed in the greenhouse.  They did everything I hoped for and more.  By providing a huge amount of soil compared to pots or bags the plants had room to make big, strong roots which are essential if you're to have a big, strong plant and lots of fruit.  The soil mass acted as a heat sink and despite us having one of the hottest summers on record, greenhouse temperatures, whilst very high, were not wildly out of control.  Finally, the huge soil volume meant really easy watering - just a big soak twice a week and the plants never dried out and suffered a check or stress as a result.

On the downside, I did not choose good varieties and I am unlikely to grow Tiny Tim, Roma or Brandywine again.  

Yields were:
Tiny Tim (small cherry)     11.13kg
Roma (Plum)                    5kg
Brandywine (beefsteak)    15.8 kg (yes, really - over fifteen kilos!)

The Tiny Tim tomatoes were so small as to be a pain to pick at times and so prolific that they got rather tiresome.  The flavour was OK but nothing special.

Roma has disappointed me before so I must have been having a brain fade when I gave them a second try.  I don't think the flavour is that brilliant.

Brandywine grows too big, and with just two of us there was more than we could cope with, and once again, the flavour wasn't a patch on Costoluto Fiorentino.  I know the leaves are showing signs of magnesium deficiency - so would you given the amount of growth they were making.

There's a great deal of home-made tomato Passata in the freezer . . .

As an aside - the aubergine plants growing at the bottom end of the greenhouse went mad.  Probably too much rich soil, never seen aubergine foliage like it - but none of the flowers set and I pulled the plants up at the end of August when it was obvious that they were doing nothing except blocking out light, taking nutrients from the soil and swamping the basil.

And - because there is (almost) no limit to how many photos never made it into blog posts, these pictures were taken in 2013.  Worth including a couple to remind myself NOT to grow 'Red Cherry' or 'Principe Borghese' both of which Seeds of Italy assured me were excellent varieties for growing in the north.  I beg to differ.

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