Sunday, 20 March 2011

Tomatoes: the plan

Around 130 tomato seedlings have come up already; they're currently basking on my south-facing windowsill (except today; it's dull and cold) alongside aubergines and assorted other vegetables and flowers

So it's on! I have sown the tomato seeds I already had (mostly left over from last year), and the germination rate has exceeded my expectations considerably! I've also chosen a few more types, and the seeds should arrive in the next few days, making a total of 15.

Here's the final list:
  • Black Cherry
  • Costoluto Fiorentino
  • Cream Sausage
  • Gardener's Delight
  • Great White
  • Green Zebra
  • Jaune Flammée
  • Orange Strawberry
  • Purple Cherokee
  • Riesentraube
  • Snowberry
  • Sub Arctic Plenty
  • Summer Cider
  • Sun Belle
  • Super Marmande
This may seem like a crazy number, and I admit, I am growing far more than most people recommend. I have been partially spurred on by the excellent blog Tomatolover, which aside from being an informative and fun account of home growing, shows that you can produce a huge range of tomatoes in a very small space, without too much fuss. I sowed the old seeds not expecting a high success rate, and in order to use them up, so that took me to 6 or 7 types; I absolutely had to grow Super Marmande again, after my one outdoor plant produced several kilos of fruit last year (which were delicious; see picture below), and then... well, since you can only grow tomatoes from seed once a year, and since I know I have the opportunity this summer to do so, I want to experiment as much as possible. Life's really too short to just grow Moneymaker or Alicante (yes, I'm growing Gardener's Delight, but the seeds were free with a magazine a year or two ago).

I wanted to grow as many different shapes and colours as possible, and to steer away from boring, round red types that you can get easily and cheaply in the summer anyway. The fifteen amount to four cherry types (one dark purple, one pale yellow, two red), six large beefsteak types (two red, one cream, one purple, one orange, one yellow-orange), and five miscellaneous (medium round red, long thin creamy yellow, medium green striped, medium orange, and small yellow pear-/bottle-shaped). They are mostly cordons, some can be grown outdoors, others are recommended under cover, and flavours range from sweet to acid, and even one described as 'spicy'.

All I can say is, I hope it all goes to plan!

Super Marmande ripening last August

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