Friday, 22 July 2011

Tomato update: mid July

'Costoluto Fiorentino' continues to swell - living up to its name! (Costoluto means "ribbed")

Bad weather discouraged me from spending much time in the garden this week. We had terrible weather over the weekend - gales again, which nearly tore off the roof from the new greenhouse. I wish I didn't have to say that every few months, but it seems despite the buildings, walls, and fences that look as though they shelter the place, being so close to the coast means winds like that are a fact of life. At this rate I'm going to have to build my greenhouses out of steel. Anyway, I managed to save it, although a little repair is necessary. Meanwhile, the plentiful rain has kept the outdoor tomatoes green and vigorous, while those under cover are spindlier, but fruiting freely. Here's the standard rundown:

This is by no means the largest 'Jaune Flammée' fruit - just the easiest to photograph!

Black Cherry

planted 3 • largest plant 75cm flowers open fruit set ✔?

Cherokee Purple
planted 5 • largest plant 58cm tall flowers open fruit set

Costoluto Fiorentino
planted 6 • largest plant 112cm flowers open fruit set

Cream Sausage
planted 4 • largest plant 98cm flowers open fruit set

Gardener's Delight
planted 7 • largest plant 90cm tall flowers open fruit set

German Orange Strawberry
planted 3 • largest plant 44cm tall flowers open fruit set

Great White
planted 1 • largest plant 60cm tall flowers open fruit set

Green Zebra
planted 9 • largest plant 70cm flowers open fruit set

Jaune Flammée
planted 6 • largest plant 118cm tall flowers open ✔ fruit set

planted 7 • largest plant 38cm flowers open ✔ • fruit set

planted 4 • largest plant 174cm tall flowers open fruit set

Sub Arctic Plenty
planted 4 • largest plant 60cm flowers open fruit set ✔?

Summer Cider
planted 4 • largest plant 100cm flowers open fruit set ✔

Sun Belle
planted 3 • largest plant 160cm tall flowers open fruit set

Super Marmande
planted 4 • largest plant 90cm tall flowers open fruit set

That makes 70 plants (I had aimed at 60, but I trust my notes, even though I don't remember planting quite that many). Some may have been left too late - although with the long days, mild temperatures, and frequent rain, it's possible they will have just enough time. As you can see, most of the varieties are now in fruit, and all but two ('Riesentraube' and 'German Orange Strawberry') are flowering. Again, it's amazing how much some of them have grown. 'Sun Belle' has grown 44cm - nearly a foot and a half - in 19 days. The largest 'Jaune Flammée', long since left behind in the height stakes, has fruit swelling on four trusses, and flowers open on two more. Other winners are 'Cherokee Purple', which is fast catching up the first planting. In fact, almost all the greenhouse plants now have baby fruit, demonstrating in an entirely unscientific way how much of a head start a bit of protection can give. The first ripe fruit goes to 'Gardener's Delight', and ironically it is on one of the plants that didn't get chosen - it's still in a small pot on the windowsill. That's the true sign of a tough, productive variety, I'd say - giving fruit in the least forgiving conditions. No sign of a sustained harvest this month, however. I live in hope.

'Sun Belle' is now fruiting freely in the greenhouse - little egg-shaped fruit on long trusses.

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