Monday, 7 May 2012
"Red And Yellow And Pink And Green "
"Red and yellow and pink and green
Purple and orange and blue
I can sing a rainbow,
sing a rainbow,
sing a rainbow too."
~ well that's the plan. Inspired by Veg Plotting's 52 Week Salad Challenge, I'm hoping to be eating a myriad of rainbow coloured tomatoes later this year. Tomatoes are an essential and favourite salad ingredient for me. A salad would not be complete without at least a slice or two, preferably homegrown and eaten when still warm from the sun. A few years ago on holiday we came across a small market stall in Brittany, where a young man was selling tomatoes of all sizes and hues as well as variety of squashes. Just the mere act of looking made my heart sing. I had seen such tomatoes on catalogue pages but this was the first encounter in the flesh as it were. We bought a bag of mixed tomatoes and had a short conversation with the vendor about the source of his tomatoes. He bought out a well thumbed book from behind the stall and I spent ten minutes or so leafing through the manual of the Association Kokopelli. This non profit - making organisation was formed in 1998 and seeks to protect food biodiversity. Membership offers access to a range of organic heirloom vegetable seeds. I am not a member but am tempted.
Now I know from bitter experience that north west England can't compete with Brittany when it comes to sun, warmth and quality of light but this year I decided I would have a go at producing a riot of colour as well as taste. So here is the roll call :
Tried and Tested
'Gardeners Delight' and 'Sungold' - both produce small sweet bite sized fruits.
'Losetto' - a low growing bush type tomato. This did really well gown in containers outdoors at the allotment last year.
'Super Marmande' - if somebody could enlighten me as to the difference between this and 'Marmande' (which I have grown before) I would appreciate it.
Unchartered Waters ~
'Prudens Purple' - a potato leaf variety producing pinky- purple beefsteak fruits.
'Black Sea Man' - a potato leaf variety which hails from Russia. The fruits are described as mahogany to brown in colour with green to olive shoulders.
'Noire de Crimée' - another Russian tomato with reddish brown fruits.
'Matt's Wild Cherry' - hailing from Mexico this apparently bears a multitude of very sweet small red tomatoes.
'Zloty Ozarowski' - a golden orange tomato from Poland.
'Jaune Flammé' - originating from France, this is an early ripening apricot coloured tomato.
Harvesting tomatoes seem a long way off at the moment. I am regretting the fact that with one or two exceptions I sowed most of them at the back end of February. I am now lugging trays back and forth in come evening and morning as it has been too cold to leave them in an unheated greenhouse overnight. If the plants had been smaller I could have fleeced them effectively but most of them are too big to be wrapped up, without the risk of damaging the foliage. Then of course as usual there are more plants than needed. I will be sowing later next year and also maybe looking at buying in from other sources, which might take care of the some of the hard graft. Age must be catching up with me!
Hopefully if it ever gets warmer I will be back later in the year with photos of my tomato fest, growth and taste verdicts. I have an inkling that the Polish and Russian varieties may fare better than the French and Mexican but who knows ~ maybe a glorious summer is on the cards. How is everybody else getting on with growing tomatoes in this challenging spring?