The life of a tomato plant is relatively short but hopefully sweet.
What with moving house and then being without a greenhouse, I dithered for a while about whether to even grow tomatoes from seed this year. But you get much more choice of what varieties to grow when you grow your own, so I just couldn’t resist.
I’m always drawn to unusual coloured vegetables, they look so lovely on the vegetable patch and on the plate, so I plumped for:
- Black Cherry, purple-black cherry tomatoes.
- Golden Sunrise, these become deep yellow as they ripen.
- Maskotka, they’ve been bred specially to grow in hanging baskets and containers, but only a few seeds germinated and these soon withered away, so I won’t find out this year how useful they are for small spaces.
They were whipped out of the propagator as soon as they’d grown a 4-6 leaves and potted on into their own individual little pots, then parked on the window-sill until the weather warmed up enough for them to live in the cold-frame.
I re-potted them into progressively bigger pots and eventually planted them at the allotment.
and here they are beginning to colour up, job almost done.
It feels like autumn is here already, so they may end up as chutney unless we get some warmth and sunshine.
I’m keeping a look out for tomato blight that mostly affects tomatoes growing outside, it’s a nasty fungal disease of late summer that happens when there’s been a lot of rain and humidity. Some of the leaves on the plants are brown at the edges, the first sign of blight, then it spreads to the tomatoes and they become brown and shrivelled.
Some gardeners never grow tomatoes outside because of the risk of blight, but measures can be taken against it:
- not planting them too close together, fungal spores don’t like airy spaces,
- grow them in a different part of the allotment or garden each year,
- the blight affects tomatoes and potatoes [they are both members of the Solanaceae family], and it can over-winter in potatoes that have been left in the ground, dig over the ground in autumn, where potatoes have been grown to un-earth any that may have been missed.
So the life cycle of my tomato plants is almost complete, fresh on the plate or in chutney form, I’ll be very happy to have them.
Happy gardening, Jill
all photos: Jill Anderson.