Monday, 30 September 2013

Tomato Review

Our tomatoes have been cultivated in three places with very varied results: in the allotment greenhouse in pots; the allotment outside; and in large tubs in our back garden. Most successful results were from our back garden- a sheltered south-facing spot; least successful were the outside tomatoes in the allotment- succumbing to a fast spreading blight early on. I'm reserving judgement on the greenhouse toms as they are still ripening.

Varieties:  this year I grew Sungold (cherry variety,  orange colour),  Gardener's Delight (cherry variety, red colour)  Moneymaker (large red, old favourite),  Roma (medium sized plum) and Bloody Butcher (bright red- a "heritage" variety).  The last two are new to me.  Here I must apologise to those I gave plants to this year- I completely muddled up my labelling!  How I managed this I don't know- I thought I'd been exceptionally organised, but everything has come out all wrong! Ho hum, I know the difference between the fruits by sight anyway.

Sungold: these were most prolific as always and produce the best flavour I believe for salads, and just popping in the mouth whilst gardening.  They also make up the bulk of the toms I oven cook with garlic, rosemary, sage, bay and any other herbs knocking around.  They haven't split on me very much this year.  A firm favourite with me.

Gardener's Delight: due to my mislabelling I didn't have many of these but I have found them to be tasty and a nice red colour and size, I'll always grow a few plants of these.

Moneymaker: due to my mislabelling I have loads of these in greenhouse- huge great fruits, mostly unripe.  Flavour has been ok, but much improved by grilling or other cooking.

Roma: sorry Roma, I won't be growing you again.  Cotton woolly insides, dry and tasteless. No improvement on cooking. Bleh. They look nice though. My search for a tasty plum tomato continues.

Bloody Butcher:  I love you Bloody Butcher! Dark red, juicy, rich tasting. Yum. Due to my mislabelling I have hardly any of these, but someone who I gave plants to has! Lucky them. I'll be growing them again, hopefully from seeds I collect myself this year.  Unlike the expensive Sungolds, they are not an F1 variety so should come true to the parent.

Problems:  On Sue Garrett's excellent allotment and garden blog  she describes problems with blossom-end rot this year. I felt confident that I hadn't got this- but about a month or so ago I found that  I had, and for the very first time! It's been suggested that poor calcium uptake can cause this problem, so I made up a rough-and-ready solution of crushed eggs shells and watered it in.  I didn't have any more problems, but I think this was luck- I don't know that the plants would be able pick up the calcium from egg shells this way and at such a late stage- I think it was more to do with the watering regime- I actually eased off watering as the plants seemed damp enough.

Blight: I have my usual slight blight in the back garden towards the end of the season, and by judicious cutting back and getting the toms off I have fought it successfully. The plot was another matter- within two days the plants were overwhelmed and the fruits totally spoiled. The greenhouse has been healthy- so far.  Blight is so disgusting, handling the plants when ripping them out makes me feel queasy.

At home the dishes of green toms will continue to ripen off for months.  I monitor on a daily basis for any showing signs of blight and chuck'em, and we always manage to keep a few going until Christmas Day!

1 comment:

  1. The blossom end rot was a mystery as if anything the wrong tomatoes got it if erratic watering is to blame!

    I do think the close proximity to lots of tom,at growers means allotment sites are a breeding ground for blight whereas gardens can often avoid it, Maybe other people's crops create a blight superhighway, We never suffered it on tomatoes or potatoes when the plots around us were derelict!.

    WE all seem to be posting about tomatoes this week don't we?