Tomato, tomato, tomato: a season’s growing notes

Home grown tomatoesOf all the veg and fruit that I grow, there is no doubt that I have most success with tomatoes. Tomatoes love me and always grow well for me. I love them right back and am always ridiculously over-proud of my tomato-growing achievements.

And this year is certainly the pinnacle of those tomato-growing achievements so far.

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been growing five different types of tomatoes in my giant beast of a greenhouse.

Three tomato varietiesSuper Marmande is a beefsteak variety (the seeds given to my hubby as a present a year or so ago, but stolen by me this spring time). Gardener’s Delight is a small cherry tomato that I grow every year as it crops so very well and tastes so very good. Tigerella are new to me and are striped like a tiger. I know! Could you ask for more? Tumbling Tom Yellow is another new-to-me variety. I’ve got some small still-very-green tomatoes on a few plants that I can’t wait to see ripen. And finally, a solitary plant of Lizzano, the only seed to germinate from an entire packet. Also yet to ripen.

I was hoping against hope that I’d have all varieties ripe and ready to eat at one time so that I could photograph them all together. But, I suspect that the Marmande and Tigerellas will be over before the last two ripen, so I settled for some nice pictures of the first three varieties.

Gardeners Delight tomatoes
Gardeners Delight tomatoes
Super marmande tomato
Super Marmande tomato
Tigerella tomato
Tigerella tomato

All three have cropped magnificently. My only quibble is that I would say the beefsteaks aren’t always quite as beefy as I suspect they should be and the cherry tomatoes are sometimes very, very tiny.

But all are utterly, utterly delicious and I will certainly be ramming my greenhouse full with these varieties again next year.

Red tomatoesA few lessons I’ve learnt from this season:

  • Don’t pack the tomatoes too deep onto the staging. I’ve been finding it seriously difficult to pick the plants at the very back without crushing the plants at the front. (At least it does release that heavenly tomato vine smell into the air, though.)
  • I won’t use tomato growbags again, an experiment I tried out for the first time this year. I found it a total pain trying to water into the small exposed bit of soil at the cuts in the bag, which were often covered up with foliage. Much easier to water into a normal pot, and all the rest of my tomatoes – growing in (often quite small) pots – have produced more fruit than the ones in the growbags.
  • In the height of summer, if the tomatoes are in a greenhouse, you might have to water twice a day. To be honest, I find this a bit of a pain. I dream of having the money to afford a computerised irrigation system for the greenhouse!
  • If you do water a bit irregularly, you’ll most likely spot blossom end rot: a sunken brownish patch at the bottom side of a tomato fruit. It’s caused by a lack of calcium, but comes about because the water flow to the plants extremities isn’t sufficient. I lost a couple of fruits this way, after a very hot week and not enough time spent watering… But I upped my game after that and all the rest were subsequently fine.

Tell me, do you grow any varieties that I should know about? Do let me know in the comments below…

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