Saturday, 29 August 2009
A Tale of Woe
No I have not fast - forwarded to October. This little cameo of the contents of one of my kitchen draws is very much in the here and now. They are the only pickings from two tomato plants. Earlier in the year I sowed three varieties of tomato, all at the same time. Alas 'Czech's Excellent Yellow' keeled over as seedlings - probably the consequence of too many seedlings in the greenhouse at the time. I was looking foward to trying this variety as I had not grown it before. However 'Marmande' and 'Ildi' flourished. I duly planted six of the former and one of the latter (the rest went to friends) in the lean to at the allotment. This ramshackle construction is an extension of the shed and has three glass sides.
Initially all went well until probably June, when I thought to myself that my tomatoes were not really flourishing as well as they should do. I could not pin it down to anything specific. Time went on, the state of affairs did not improve and of we went on holiday. On our return despite excellent care from my allotment neighbours, two of the 'Marmande' plants were decidedly floppy. The foliage was limp and yellowing. I gave the plants another couple of weeks but they did not perk up at all. They were looking so poorly that I decided needs must and pulled them out. Their fruits have been ripening in the kitchen draw and the time is ripe for tasting this weekend. The four remaining 'Marmande' plants are unhappy. Three have droopy and curled up leaves and I think that the same fate awaits them. The other seems to have gone into a state of suspended animation. It is about eighteen inches tall and has one truss only. Meanwhile the only healthy and vigorous plant is the 'Ildi', which has lush foliage but we are still at the flower stage. No baby toms yet and we are almost at the end of August.
Where did I go wrong ? I do not think it is blight with the 'Marmande' but must consult my vegetable tomes. I am wondering whether the border in the lean to might be the problem although I freshened up the compost before planting. I might grow my tomatoes in pots next year or possibly in the other greenhouse which is out in the open. This has a grapevine planted in it so I will need to think carefully about where to site the tomatoes. One to contemplate when the nights are long !