My tomatoes this year are a bigger surprise than normal. I very carefully labelled and even numbered them for cross reference. It doesn’t help of course when you save seeds from tomatoes you like and put them in little envelopes, carefully entitled ‘Tomatoes’. Add to that the guesswork because the labelling has faded. My Black Cherry tomatoes have metamorphosed to Gardener’s Delight, the ‘mystery’ seeds have appeared as Gardener’s Delight so besides harvesting my own Gardener’s Delight seeds, I bought organic seeds and a Gardener’s Delight tomato plant which was on it’s last legs from the sale in a local garden centre. All very carefully nurtured regardless of the variety and origin, so it is a surprise it’s the wilting garden centre plant which had the first fruit to ripen. It is one of the reasons why I tend to buy reject plants, I like giving them one more chance and often reap the reward if not this year, I could next year.
Two of plants new to my collection this year came from a friend who acquired seeds whilst on holiday in Spain. I don’t know if it makes any difference getting them elsewhere but you can get Marmande and Marglobe seeds in the UK, both bigger tomatoes than I would normally choose but they are still growing and still green.
I was also given Brown Berry and Garden Peach tomato seeds in a seed swap. The Brown Berry is beginning to colour now but looks more like Brown Plum. I had expected round cherry tomatoes but they are oval and definitely taking on a mahogany hue. Garden Peach surprisingly is yellow but it just sounds so nice, it did get it’s name because it has a slightly fuzzy skin.
I usually always have Shirley and Gardener’s Delight but I also like trying out other varieties and I already have the seeds for my choice of tomato next year. I have decided on Black Opal, Rosella, Black Russian and Sweet Aperitif as new additions. The dinky little Ildi, a yellow peardrop has been recommended and it does have keeping properties and is suitable for a hanging basket.
The big disappointment this year has been the hydroponic tank, I think perhaps I should have bought new feed for this season. Normally the plants race ahead of the potted tomatoes but they are just keeping up with them. In the tank this year is Roma, a favourite tomato for sauce making and of course the Gardener’s Delight which I thought was Black Cherry. Joining them in the tank is Berner Rose, a beautiful shade of pink-skinned tomato. One of the first to ripen, but it also rotted. I had difficulty keeping it healthy last year and wasn’t too impressed with the taste but it does at least look pretty. I have another growing in a pot, I do that to compare any difference in growth or flavour between growing them traditionally or hydroponically.
I shouldn’t complain about the Sub-Arctic Plenty, it’s recommended for the frozen north but even so it isn’t going anywhere. Perhaps if I had put it in a bigger pot or fed it more often, it might be looking better now!
None of the photographs are mine but borrowed from seed catalogue sites, I have used them only to show what the tomatoes should look like. The photograph below is what the bottom trusses of my tomatoes look like now. All the red tomatoes are Gardener’s Delight and somewhere in the middle, hiding in the foliage, is a ripening Brown tomato which is not berry round!
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