We’re running a little behind scheduled! Looking back at this point last year, it would appear that I behind where I should be. The chillies are definitely smaller, and I am only getting around to sowing tomatoes. That was the job for today! There are quite a few jiffy pellets sown, more than usual. If they don’t end up on the plot, I am sure that they will go to happy homes. All being well, I will put these into the open ground of the plot, rather than in the poly tunnel. Last year all of the tomato plants were in there, and the subsequent yield was far lower than expected.
I was ably assisted by mum, who requested that we have the staple of red, round tomatoes. She kindly put all the seeds into the jiffy pellets after I had labelled them. You can’t see her on the video, but I assure you that she was standing there waving her hands at me to make the video longer! May be next time!
Over the last few weeks, these darlings have been battered and bruised by the wind and rain. I had thought, that they would all cease to exist. So much so, additional reinforcements of cherokee, brandywine, citrina, sunstripe and another yellow one have been called in. There are smaller specimens of katiebell, lizziebell, luciebell and flamingo
The plants are on a spectrum of leafiness and healthiness. To be fair, I always suffer this developmental delay on planting out. They simply don’t like the windy heavy clay. That said, once they get a bit robust, have been fed a bit; they start to unfurl themselves, One thing is for certain, they are not pretty. The conditions make them battle hardened and haggard. The leaves have a spikey quality to them. Some are in open ground, some are positioned in raises beds. There is on, singular, black cherry, is in the poly tunnel by way of experiment.
That does, make for a lot of tomatoes. A few of which are starting to flower. Have arm pitted a few times, the gardeners delight and moneymaker. I know, that for some, these are generic, yucky tomato varieties. In the first time that I am growing these, I shall see just how yucky they might be.
Looking forward to the yellow, and pink ones, as well as the green and red stripey things. But the whoppers, have to be the marmande, cherokee and brandywine’s. Big wibbly tomatos, that you don’t get in the shops.
Today was the day that the tomatoes were turfed out of their transparent box in the poly tunnel. They have been sat there for a while making the transition. To be honest, think it was bit too hot for them, a few of the leaves have been scorched no matter how much I watered them. At forty degrees in the poly tunnel, I can understand wanting to get out.They were also getting tall, not gangly, but ready to make an exit.
So today there were meant to be fifteen plants, planted out. I managed fourteen, as one of them is actually quite tiny. Looks a bit developmentally delayed, compared to the rest of it’s peer group. Last year, all of the tomatoes were in raised beds. This year, with the extra space, with the exception of four, out in open group. Dotted in the corners of large beds, in project othello, largely. Quite an assortment really varieties, we have black cherry, alisa craig however you want to spell it, money maker, gardeners delight and yellow stuffer. I did look at the number that I planted out today, and surveying the space; felt a pang to sow some more. We shall see, I know that they grow reasonably quick anyway. Have bulb planted them in and watered.
Have moved these to the top tier of the 4TB as some of these were starting to hunch over. Not looking too bad. But there is a frost scheduled for this coming week, so they will remain fleeced for the time being.
Am taking chances with the tomatoes and putting them into the 4TB. They will be nestled within fleece, this will hopefully protect them whilst allowing them grow a bit more hardy. I know that they are still quite small, and we may still get a frost. The 4TB does however get quite warm at the moment. Have just taken out a tray of squashes and cukes, they were wonderfully warm. There are still three very tiny tomato babies still being held in side. Will keep an eye on the 4TB over the next few days, just in case.
A heaving gallery of pictures for you today. Today’s session started with mama h and I sinking corden trees. These Victoria plum, conference pear and falstaff apple had been in pots for nearly two years. However these were proving to be too small. So these are now sunk into open ground. Hopefully this will contribute to them doing better. Also tidied up the inside of the poly tunnel. It has been up to
30 degrees Celsius in there, with my glasses steaming up as I go in.
The next task was to pot up tomatoes. These were starting to become tall and gangly beyond their baby leaves. Some of their foliage is now quite frilly.
Taking a quick look at the peppers and aubergines. Had to some emergency potting up these week, with both of them as they have an accelerated growth spurt with the spring sunshine. There are quite a few aubergines, I know. Mama h quite likes them, so it will be interesting to see if they fruit. All being well, chillies and bells will be in the poly tunnel. Dorset and bengle nagas are small, but growing. Pretty purple rainbow chilli is romping ahead with its purple tinged leaves, with early jalepeno hot on its heels.
The Superhots are coming along. The challenging Jamaican jerk has made an appearance, as well as orange habanero. Hot scotch is also present. We are still waiting on yellow scotch bonnet, but I am not holding my breath for that one. The California sweet pepper isn’t doing too badly either. >
This years tomato babies are only just starting to get their proper leaves. Some of them are a little bit taller than expected; didn’t quite pot them up as well as I could have. Also they are stretching towards the light a bit. I am debating putting them into the 4TB; mainly as it is still quite cold at night. Should I then cover them with a fleece and leave them to it?
Debating this morning as to whether I should modularise running beans and broadies. All too eager….
Finally, the cover for the 4TB has arrived. A little bigger than expected, but that is a lot better than smaller. I had purchased one that did turn out to be smaller, and of no use. This may be bigger, but it is also made of the same reinforced material as the wendy house and the poly tunnel. I am hoping, therein, that it lasts a while. That said, the cover that was replaced is in fact five years old. Apparently, the shop that made the 4TB has changed the dimensions, so I couldn’t an appropriate replacement. That said, to their credit, the company was very good about making amends. In the poly tunnel yesterday, it was a rather balmy twenty degrees. The best thing, that it was still there, and hadn’t floated off. The wendy house was there also, for which we are also thankful. The lyon prizewinner leeks are still there and quite snug too.
Tomatoes aren’t doing too badly at the moment. The vast majority of the seeds that were modularised have come through. The module was sat on the not very warm window sill, and so they did take their time. The babies were also a little leggy, which resulted in them having to be demodularised and then potted up. No mean feat, as I am not very good at pricking out and potting up. Which is why, I only sank singular seeds to begin with. In essence, at the moment, we have the same number of tomato plants as we did last year. It remains to be seen, if these will all achieve maturity.
On the next window sill, we have the the aubergines. Dancer, diamond, tres hative de barbentane and black beauty have all come through. I am still waiting for early long purple to germinate. There was a pleasant surprise in how quickly the aubergine seeds have come up.
Of the chillies and superhots, I have yet to see any of yellow scotch bonnet and orange habanero. Fire has been temporarily written off in failing to come off entirely. The dorset naga looked a bit precarious, having caught a cold; it looked as though it was going to keel over. I checked this afternoon, and it did appear to have rallied. I’m not hedging my bets. I would like it to survive, one has a dorset naga chilli challenge to try! Have resown some california wonder, as i had somewhat neglected to re-sow a sweet pepper. All those hot chillies, and no sweetness. One is thinking of all the possible chilli jam to be made.
I have kept all the babies in foodbag cloches. Mainly, as they are on window sills that don’t always stay warm. With some heat and light trapped, the cloche offers something of a security blanket. I am conscious that a sudden drop in temperature could wipe everything out. I would like to place the tomato babies in the 4TB, under a fleece. Just not sure if they would survive, would be a tragedy for them to be annihilated after being pampered for so long.
I had a peek yesterday at the modularised tomato seeds, and found a few babies had germinated and were actually a little leggy. In order to prevent the legginess from increasing and causing them to keel over, I have potted them up today up to their baby leaves. All being well, the stem will send out some stabilising roots and the babies will become a little more solid and robust. There were quite a few modularised, but only ten babies have come up so far. Hopefully, a few more will come through. I did see a couple of contenders coming through their seed cases.
At the moment, there are babies belonging to aisla craig, yellow stuffer, black cherry, marmande and gardeners delight. These are of course a very early sowing, and the danger remains that these will be cold and keel over. The plan is, to keep them inside for a short while, and then transfer to the 4TB once that has had it’s cover replaced. I am always some what saddened when baby seedlings keel over.
Last year, I didn’t label them, or separate them out as seedlings, They were transplanted outside and into raised beds. This year, we have labels, and I deliberately didn’t sow lots and lots. I’m not very good at pricking them out, so the potting up process was done with care and very slowly. it will be interesting to see which ones are the most productive. Depending on how many grow, it may be possible to carry out a further experiment. Half the cohort could be once again placed outside into raised beds, with the other half grown in the poly tunnel if there is enough room. Last year, there was a bumper crop of tomatoes, they all remained green and had to be ripened indoors. Based purely on the appearance, I think marmande was the most prolific. If there is the same level of cropping, it might be useful to have a recipe for a relish or chutney.