It seems that everyone ends up with a bit of gardening obsession – or is it just a male thing? I think I can safely say, I have a bit of thing for tomatoes. Last year we had 6 varieties – cherry, salad and plum, both greenhouse and outdoor types.
We went to a workshop on how to save seeds today. It was organised by a local community organisation, Down to Earth Stroud. This is a relatively new initiative for them in our area and one that we are definitely keen to get involved with. I am going to write more on this when I have done a bit more research.
One of the group had brought along some tomato seedling that were going spare. There are seed saved by someone on their allotments and are simply called Margaret’s Black. So I have pricked these out and transplanted them to bigger pots. I just done a quick count of the plants and there are a lot…
We have a few more varieties this year too
- Sungold F1 – super sweet cherry
- San Marino – a wonderful cooking plum tomato – the classic Italian tinned ones
- Costituto Fiorentino – a big deep red cooking *
- Purple Ukrainian – heritage purple/red salad *
- Tigerella – a fun orange striped red salad
- Cream Sausage – outdoor, yellow tasty cooking plum one
- Tangelo – orange salad *
- Holly Rose – early pinky red small salad *
- Japanese Black Trifle – late dark red/black one * and
- Margaret’s Black – a dark red probably outdoor one *
- Money makers – red cherry tomato
New this year = *
There are “only” 2 or 3 of most of them but as we got a tray of Margaret’s Black there are more of them. The tray of Margaret’s Black needed to be separated out and planted into new pots – pricking out. It is also a good opportunity to take the slightly leggy, etiolated, ones and bury them up to the first leaves. The stem then grows new roots under the compost surface – being they get stronger and healthier.
The plan is to grow a couple of most of them in the greenhouse and then the rest outdoors – the Cream Sausage and Margaret’s Black are both outdoor ones. The indoors ones are going to be grown as cordons – a single stem trained up some string, this is also called indeterminate. The other way tomatoes grow is as a bush – determinate. The main difference is that the side shoots between the leaves on the main stem also flower and produce fruit. We have one variety that grows well as a bush, the lovely small plum tomato cream sausage. I am not sure how the Margaret’s Black grow yet. We will probably do a try both methods and see which one works best.
I read last year, I think it was James Wong, about cutting off the top of the plant after 1, 2 or 3 trusses. The idea is that the plant then puts energy into few tomatoes – they mature quicker, have more flavour and are sweeter. This is how most of the outdoor tomatoes will be grown.
Ok time to “fess up” – we have 10 Margaret’s Blacks and 21 others – 31 in total (and we gave 3 to my Dad already)… But until the last frost is past, they are all in the house!
Quick update :- I gave in and we planted 3 money maker seeds. Tomato sauce and chutney are both delicious after all …