Sunday, 21 August 2016

This year's tomatoes, next year's tomatoes

The first full crop of tomatoes are ripened - in our first harvest for three years. No Blight! No mildew, no cracking, and a mere handful of catfaced fruits. Did I mention they ripened, too? No green tomato glut to manage this year.


These ones are a variety called 'Outdoor Girl' that we bought as small plants. One is in the raised bed, the other three are in the troughs at the front of the house. I also accidentally pulled a limb from one earlier in the season, and stuck it in a pot in the hope that it would root - it did, and then proceeded to take over a shady corner. It has set some late fruit, so perhaps there will be a green tomato crop after all. They are a little floury and not particularly interesting, and I probably won't grow them again.

By far the most successful variety has been this one:


These are 'Sweet Million', an F1 variety. 1 of the 6 seeds provided survived damping off - and then spread raucously through the herb bed, up the fence and over the boundary wall, blocking all access to the compost bin. It has fruited prolifically in semi-shade and the kids love the small sweet fruit. I will grow this again another year, perhaps when we have a much bigger garden.

This year I planted the very last seeds of my favourite heirloom variety - Purple Calabash.


The seeds must have been approaching 10 years old, and a single seedling survived the damping off that felled its siblings. It's obviously made of stern stuff, and I'll save some seed for next year, risking that it might well have cross-pollinated with one of the others. Many of the flowers failed to set fruit for some reason, normally it is a heavy cropper. The fruits are deeply ridged with a deep purple blush, but they are firm fleshed and tasty. I hope a few more ripen before the season is completely over.

I miss our allotment; and having just that little extra space in which to launch (still wholly unrealistic)  gardening plans. Instead, I have to whittle down my dreams - though perhaps their isn't a garden big enough in the world to accomodate those anyway? Next year then, I'll find room for Purple Calabash, started as early as possible; and 'Bajaja' - a container bush variety that looks like a much more sensible variety for my little container plot. A girl will still dream, though.

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