Although this years’ plants haven’t quite come to an end, it is still time to be looking and planning ahead. Gardening catalogues are dropping through the letter box, emails are filling up, with the seed and plant suppliers’ race to get the customers first. Sadly it may be my last year of growing tomatoes, I can cope with being allergic to the plant but it is disastrous if I can’t eat the fruit. One of the pleasures of growing them was just picking them fresh off the vine. Time will tell and I won’t give up meantime.
There are some plants I won’t grow again, space doesn’t allow it, but also if they haven’t come up to expectations, I will use up the seeds first but won’t renew. That way leftover seeds can get a second chance. It happened with the pretty pink, Berner Rose tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum), which I thought were a waste of time growing. Besides not being very productive, I lost many of what fruits the plant produced to blossom-end rot. So decided, it wasn’t worth trying again. The following year, it was ‘waste not, want not’, and I sowed a few more of the seeds. This time, although not many fruits, they were delicious, and Berner Rose got a reprieve for another year. I have found it not to be too productive though. It is an old variety, originating from Bern, Switzerland. It’s a very meaty tomato with not too many seeds.
Ildi, the small, pear-shaped, yellow tomato has been alright. I didn’t find it outstanding, although it would still add interest and flavour, as well as colour and shape to a salad. I experimented more with it though. I thought it was a smaller plant, not just the fruit, so potted up, one plant in a pot and the other in a hanging basket. I soon found out, they didn’t hang down so much as sprawl out. I also tried one outdoors. It didn’t do well at all. The one in the pot in the greenhouse has been healthier looking and produced more fruit. It is another ‘maybe’, if there are any seeds left, I would try it again next year.
I took advantage of ‘reduced price’ seeds to have added a few more tomatoes to choose from. Without a doubt, there will be my long-standing favourites, Shirley and Gardener’s Delight, but the new favourite, streaking ahead of all others for taste is Rosella, a deep rose-pink, cherry tomato, and not only an exquisite taste but a heavy cropper. Sweet Aperitif also had a superb taste but it didn’t crop well.
Black Russian is one I haven’t decided on, it’s an heirloom variety. I did get one or two fairly large fruits from it, and there is no doubt the colour and taste are just that little bit different.
Marglobe was really nice last year, but not so tasty this year. It may be because of the change in our weather. The tomatoes grown in our area, are usually the tastiest, apparently the colder weather makes them sweeter. We had a surprisingly few hot summer weather weeks this year. We also had no rain in those weeks so many plants didn’t survive. All my tomato plants are greenhouse grown, including an Ildi, although the second plant which was grown outdoors, produced fewer tomatoes.
I will miss all that if I have to give tomatoes up but I have plenty more produce waiting in the sidelines. Some of the plants which didn’t survive the freezing spring will get another chance and without tomatoes filling up the greenhouse, I can be allowed to spoil some of the rest of the plants.