Tag Archives: brandywine

Tomato tribulations 2015

I had a lot of hope for my tomatoes this year. I would sown them when the conditions were useful, plant them into the poly tunnel. Take on board on the learning from the last few years. See if I could really maximize the potential crop.

As I write, there are still tomato plants in the poly tunnel. Whilst the weather is starting to turn, and the plot now dons it autumn winter apparel and has a rather miserable visage; I am hanging onto the tomatoes to see how far they go.

It feels a distant memory, but planting out the growing plants was the start of the possible adventure. Positioned in the poly tunnel, I aimed for two things. First, ripe tomatoes; they were all planted under cover for that very reason.In previous years, whilst there was an abundance outside, they were all green. Second, green tomatoes would be a bonus.

So the things grew. I had a number of different varieties. Some were new, the heritage brandywines and cream sausage. There were also some staples, I had stuck with yellow stuffer.

The tomatoes grew like triffids.

There is a bit of confusion, that I will gladly admit to. To defoliate or not to defoliate. There are some varieties that do need the side shoots removing, some that don’t. Also, the argument for photosynthesis does make sense. So where do you draw the line? How far you go in removing foliage, if you remove foliage at all? There were times, where it near enough impossible to move in the poly tunnel without having a yellow flower or green leaf tickle your nose.

The key at all points in the process was fruits.

In previous years I have been swimming in green tomatoes. Naturally this has lent itself to chutney.  So there was something of a disappointment in not having many fruit and even then, not many green ones.

I am not sure quite sure what went wrong this year. There are a number of variables that need reflecting on. Was having slow maturing beefstakes a step too far? Was the poly tunnel too congests, or did the weather scupper all hope.

Shall be looking at the seedboxes to make a decision about what varieties will be sown next year. To think tomatoes are meant to simple.

Far from it.



Tomatos: Heritage and brandywines

Sat here with the FA Cup on in the background, I am seed shuffling. Seed shuffling tomato seeds. I have now got 12 baby seedlings, sat nervously on the window sill. I am hoping to sow some more in the coming weeks, The plan, is to have tomatos and chilli peppers in the poly tunnel.

So far, I have sown a money maker, true black brandywine, purple cherokee, yellow stuffer, marmande, and cream sausage. A few of these are heritage varieties, and some of them the big beefsteak variety. They are also a diverse range in terms of their colour spectrum.

Last year, Marmande were lovely. Just a bit green. They have a lovely knobbly surface that you just don’t find in the supermarket. I also had purple cherokee. Again, this was a productive cropper. There were tomatoes, big ones too. Smudges of purple. rather than fully, failed to move much from green.  The tomatoes that we see in the supermarket, are those beautifully round, smooth, spherical creatures. Yet not all veg is smooth, uniform and standard. The vast majority of it, is actually wonky. Yet we don’t buy it, and it sadly goes to waste.

Having rooted around the seed stashers, I have located my tomato seeds. Once more, I am trying to select the varieties that I would like to sow.  Have already sown a few yellow tomatoes, but there is a yellow brandywine that I quite like the look of. There is already a pinkish one, that rules out the pink brandywine. There is something definitely more solid about a beefsteak tomato. The plants are different too, in terms of the leaf shape and they get quite tall.

I have quite a few tigerella seeds, freebies, I think. Might try these to see what kind of fruit they are, beyond their novelty stripes. It is a heritage variety, interestingly. Lastly, there is Roma VF. Meant to be good for sauces, so we shall see as to how productive it. Most likely going to be used just like a conventional red tomato.

Team Tomato

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.