Friday, 28 September 2012

Salad Days ~ Totally Tomatoes


Back in the heady days of early May, when misplaced optimism about the coming summer still prevailed, I posted about my hopes to be munching on a veritable rainbow of tomatoes this year. I was inspired by the '52 Week Salad Challenge', laid down by Veg Plotting. The seeds germinated profusely forming fine sturdy specimens though I say so myself. After the initial positive start my tomato growing year went downhill. Things went haywire - cold spring nights saw me lugging crates of plants in at night and back out in the morning, labels went missing, plants were given away or sold at the garden club plant sale without me checking what I was left with etc., etc.........

The final straw was a nesting blackbird in the lean- to greenhouse at the allotment where my plants were headed for. I hung on and hung on but there was no sign of the last fledgling leaving home and I was about to go on holiday. A last minute rush to plant the majority of them in the community greenhouse ensued. So all in all a challenging start but matters improved when I eventually started munching. I have just stripped the vines down except for a few fruits, which were too high up for me to reach. So sadly not as accurate or as scientific as I would have liked is my verdict on the 2012 rainbow crop :

Tried and Tested (grown before)
'Sungold' - sown on 24/02/12, first picked on 21/07/12. Grown on in greenhouse.
'Gardener's Delight' -  sown on 17/03/12. Grown on in greenhouse. First harvest date not recorded but is was sometime in August.
Both these varieties fared well and produced lots of tasty fruits. A definite case of 'small is beautiful'.
'Losetto' - a low growing bush type tomato. This did really well gown in containers outdoors at the allotment last year. The plants were grown outdoors again and despite the odds being against them they set a plentiful supply of fruit. This is an expensive tomato to grow from seed but on balance worth the extra pennies if you are keen to grow a basket type trailing tomato.
On balance I have decided that taste wise I prefer 'Gardener's Delight and 'Sungold'. Also 'Losetto' has a thicker skin.

Beefsteak - 
'Super Marmande' - if somebody could enlighten me as to the difference between this and 'Marmande' (which I have grown before) I would appreciate it.
I am not sure what happened to these. I did not end up with any mature plants!

Uncharted Waters - (not grown previously)
Here there was the most disappointment as both plants and labels walked. Of the dark purple/black varieties listed below, I ended up with one variety which I grew indoors. My suspicion is that it 'Black Sea Man' but I would not testify to this in a court of law.

'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. I planted my plants outside on a tripod of canes. The plants did not thrive at all. I picked but a handful of tomatoes and was not that impressed but then it could be that there was never enough sunshine to give them much taste.

Again with the varieties below it is case of either or but I think it was the Polish variety that came through. Both these were grown under cover.

'Zloty Ozarowski' - a golden orange tomato from Poland.
'Jaune Flammé' - originating from France, this is an early ripening apricot coloured tomato.
Both the above were grown under cover.

Taste wise none of the larger tomatoes have been that impressive - himself replied with the word 'musty' when I asked for a verdict on the one I have down for 'Black Sea Man'. Not exactly the response I hoped for.

In conclusion I have decided that :
  • I will try again next year to grow some varieties that I have not grown before.
  • I will not sow so early.
  • I will sow fewer seeds.
  • I must be more disciplined when it comes to labels.
  • I must not give away/sell plants before checking whether I've set at least one of each variety aside for myself.
How's your tomato growing gone this year and what has been your favourite variety? 

Do visit Veg Plotting today for more September salad pickings.

11 comments:

  1. That bowl of tomatoes looks sumptuous!

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  2. I don't think it's been the year for trying anything new really, has it? I'm in a similar situation, not enough ripe tomatoes of any particular new variety to really judge them. Like you, I shall try again next year. I think I'm going to have a go at growing more basket type tomatoes next year too which don't need as much attention. I'm enjoying the few ripe tomatoes I've tasted so far this year though, nothing quite like home grown tomatoes, I think that's why we keep persevering.

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  3. not a tomato or blackbird in sight but your kind and patient heart has paid off with an unexpected harvest, Anna. I love the little cherry ones that pop into the mouth and explode with the first bite.

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  4. Good to hear of your experiences with different tomato sorts. I'm planning on trying tomatoes next year... never had much luck before, and haven't bothered the last few years. Could you recommend one for growing outdoors? Thanks!

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  5. What a wonderful selection of tomatoes, such an assortment of shapes, sizes and colours. I can imagine you enjoying them!

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  6. Oh, that looks yummy. Our tomato crop wasn't good here in New York State because of drought. The tomatoes were tasty - but very small and not many of them.

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  7. It's been pretty abysmal in my veg patch as well, Anna. I've had 2 cherry tomatoes to eat so far, from my balcony plants. I'm pinning my hopes on the garden-grown tomatoes which seem to be doing really well but are all green at the moment. Whether there are enough sunny/warm days left to ripen them, only time will tell. Perseverance is the key here, I think!

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  8. They look mouth-watering Anna. I can't wait to grow tomatoes again next year, though I really must try to exercise a little restraint, and leave room to walk around the terrace. I am prone to sowing and growing on too many of too many types and then creating trip hazards... But now I have two greenhouse! Oh dear...

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  9. What a fantastic looking bowlful! I think you've done very well this year - much better than me.

    Thanks for joining in Salad Days again :)

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  10. They look gorgeous and I think considering the weather this year a great crop. I gave up on tomatoes after 3 years of blight. I'm always tempted to try again but I'll resist until I get a greenhouse.

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.