Thursday, 22 March 2012

Let's Talk About Tomatoes

If I could only grow one thing, it would have to be tomatoes. Not only do home grown tomatoes taste so much better than those bought from the supermarket, but I enjoy the process of growing them too.

I usually squeeze six plants in to my small 6X4 greenhouse, but this year I'm branching out, trying some different varieties to those I've grown previously, as well as some favourites, and I'm going to grow some outdoors in the garden as well as in the greenhouse. I'm hoping for a much bigger harvest than usual so that I can make some sauces.

The old favourites I'm going to grow are Tangella, I grew these from my own saved seed last year and I'm doing the same again this year, Tigerella, Ferline and Gardener's Delight. I picked up some new to me varieties in the Wyevale 50p sale last year. Wyevale has now changed it's name to The Garden Centre Group, and their sale can really save you a lot of money, one of the packets should have been £4.99 and it only contains six seeds. I wouldn't have bought them at that price, but I don't mind for 50p. I was looking for ones which do well outdoors. The ones I came up with are Pannovy, Gold Nugget, Black Cherry, Harbinger and Incas. I've also got Red Cherry which were a freebie and Eleanor which was sent to me by Kath from Veg Heaven. Kath has bred this variety herself and I'm eager to try it as my daughter's name is Eleanor. Thank you Kath.

It's now just a matter of getting the seed sown, which I'm hoping to do this week. I've usually started the seeds off on a windowsill in a heated propagator, but last year I sowed them inside the mini plastic greenhouse which is inside the normal greenhouse to give them a little extra protection. They grew much stronger so I'm going to do that again this year. I can't wait to pick the first sun warmed tomato from a plant and pop it straight in my mouth.


  1. I received a free packet of seeds in my GW magazine (my Christmas present from my son) I'll have to look up the ones I grew along the fence last year as they were brilliant (I'm still eating chutney!) Amanda x

  2. Am mighty impressed with your varieties! What are you planning on making with all your tomatoes? Will you be preserving any?

  3. I share the first tomato with DH, but I get the first bite! I think I'll sow my mange tout this weekend.
    Love from Mum

  4. There is nothing nicer than a home grown tomato.

  5. I always try one or two varieties every year on top of my favourites - I did pretty well with outdoor plants last year - so will definitely be growing lots more this year.

  6. Thank you for this blog Jo - I am following avidly and will be buying tomato seed at the weekend!

  7. There's nothing quite like picking a tomato straight from the plant and eating it!!

    I grow all my tomatoes outside. Some in tubs in the garden for ease of access and then a load on the allotment which I use for sauces and such.

    My Mum always sows the tomato seeds and gets the seedlings growing for us but we stick to just one cherry variety and one normal size...couldn't tell you the names of them though!

  8. I grew some orange toms once. Wish I could remember what they were called. They were sweet and delicious.

  9. I completely agree with you,nothing beats the taste of a freshly picked tomato lovely and warm with the heat from the sun bringing out the gorgeous flavours.I have got 3 tigerella plants on the go, a present from Sally at lavender attic from her time for tea event, but I will buy a couple of cherry tomato plants from the garden centre too as I love those in salads.

  10. You're talking my language with this post - I lurve growing tomatoes and am pretty good at growing them too! I've just potted on almost 60 seedlings this week (4 or was it 5 varieties this year) although many will be destined for friends or plant swaps. I do grow many outside, and a few indoors. I'm very into growing heritage varieties, the taste really cannot be beaten, oh and good old dependable gardeners delight.

    Your 50p packet was a bargain but wow £4.99 for 6 seeds!
    Have a great tomato growing year, and remember to save some seed for next year or seed swapping ;-) (assuming non are F1)

    Dawn x

  11. I've sown some old favourites this year Jo but like you have branched out into the unknown :) It's amazing just how many varieties there are - you've mentioned a couple that I've not heard of before.

  12. I dont even know the variety of tomato I am growing now.... because seeds were scooped out from tomato in the fridge.

  13. I have enjoyed looking over your blog! Best of luck with your tomato planting! I am growing my tomatoes from seeds this year as well! So far so good! Best of luck!

  14. I'm not familiar with any of your varieties except Black Cherry which does well for me here in Melbourne. My dad grows it too and his climate is a fair bit cooler than Melbournes and if anything it does better for him. It's a pretty vigorous grower with great tasting fruit in our experience.

  15. Good luck as my tomato growing is always a bit hit and miss!
    I shall be given some Gardener's Delight plants later on, and as usual I shall try sowing and growing some Golden Queen. Flighty xx

  16. So many gardening magazines give free seeds now, Amanda. I used to be inundated with them until I stopped buying the magazines. How nice to still have a taste of last summer.

    I'm hoping to make some sauces with my tomato harvest this year, Tanya. I've never had enough to really do anything with them before.

    It must be love, Mum. There's only me in our house who actually likes tomatoes so I don't have to share.

    I agree, The Cookie Jar. I love to pop cherry tomatoes straight from the plant in to my mouth.

    I hope I do as well with my outdoor plants this year, Elaine. I like to try new varieties too, though I do love Tangella.

    Don't forget to let us know what varities you decide on, Grace. Tomatoes are my favroute thing to grow.

    It's good to be able to share the sowing with someone, Tanya. I'm still going to grow some plants in the greenhouse, but some will go in pots on the patio. I'm not going to bother with any on the allotment, I think there's too much risk of blight down there.

    I grow Tangella which is an orange variety, Don't unplug your hub. It's my favourite variety, absolutely delicious.

    It's nice to have some cherry varieties on the go as well as the usual salad tomatoes, Anne. Tigerella is a nice tasting tomato, I didn't grow it last year but I'm back to it again this year.

    The £4.99 variety is Pannovy, Dawn. I've never heard of it before so I'm looking forward to trying it to see if it's worth the price tag. I don't tend to save many seeds myself, I really must get in to doing it more, though the Tangella seeds are saved.

    I hadn't heard of many of my new varieties before, Anna, as you say, there's so many out there. I'm looking forward to giving something new a go though, lots of fun trying new things.

    Saving seeds from shop bought tomatoes is great if you find one you like, Bangchik. I hope they do well for you.

    Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, Mindy. Let's hope that both our tomatoes do well this year.

    Thank you for your comment, Liz, and for visiting. I've never grown Black Cherry before so I'm hoping that it will do well. The packet says it's sweet and juicy so it sounds delicious.

    Thanks, Flighty. I haven't heard of Golden Queen before, I'll have to look that one up. Hope your tomatoes do well for you this year.

  17. You get everything you want and along come the freebies - we got yet another packet of tomato seeds in a magazine yesterday and a packet of sweet peas. They seem to be flavour of the year for magazine freebies. We've already sown about six packets of sweet peas!!

    We always tend to lose outdoor tomatoes on the plot to blight but we may try some this year again as if it is as dry as last year maybe we'll avoid the problem. We will grow some outdoors in pots in the garden.

  18. Hi Jo

    As Sue says we are thinking of trying outdoor tomatoes again this year and hoping to avoid the blight. Thing is I reckon if we get a dry cool summer like last year we miss the blight but it's not much good for ripening tomatoes. Still nothing ventured.........

  19. I'm growing a pear shaped yellow cherry tomato this year i have lots of seeds if you would like a few? get in touch on my blog if you do :-)

  20. Please grow Black Russian, the best tomato I have EVER tasted EVER!

  21. My tomatoes always get blight, but I can still often manage a bit of a harvest before they get too bad. I think I'll do the cherrys in my back garden where I can keep an eye on them. I'm way behind with seed sowing (how does March disappear every year?!) So I will probably buy some.

  22. I've grown outdoor tomatoes for years now, and though most years Blight takes down a few plants, I always manage to get a worthwhile harvest. Home-grown tomatoes are just so much better than shop-bought ones that I can't NOT grow them!

  23. I always end up with more seed than I need, Sue. The trouble is that I just don't have the room to grow everything. I'm not growing any tomatoes at the allotment, mine will be in the greenhouse or outside in the garden. I don't want to chance blight.

    That's true, Martyn. There's always something that we gardeners have to put up with. Good luck with your tomatoes this year.

    They sound really interesting, Stacy. Thank you very much for your kind and generous offer, but I don't think I've got any room for any more varieties. I hope they do well for you.

    Thank you for visiting, Chris. I shall definitely keep my eyes open for Black Russian, it's always good to get a recommendation.

    Blight can be a real problem, Lorna. I'm lucky that I can grow some plants in the greenhouse, but I'm chancing some outside as well this year, though not on the allotment.

    I agree, Mark. I don't care what's thrown at me, I'll always grow tomatoes. I'm hoping that my outdoor ones do ok this year, time will tell.

  24. Tomatoes always fail here :-(

  25. I usually grow my tomatoes in the greenhouse, Deco Cat, but I'm going to give them a go outdoors this year. I hope they do ok.

  26. Tomatoes are fun from seed too as they are so easy to germinate. I always grow a few from seed although my local plug plant supplier usually sells about 24 different tomato varieties and they cost about 1 Euro for 6 plants. It is probably cheaper to buy plants as the supplier has had all the cosots of heating early in the season. I usually buy some in March and pot them into larger pots until I cvan plant out in Mid April. Christina

  27. That's a great price for young tomato plants, Christina. You certainly can't buy them that cheaply here, nor can you find many different varieties unless you grow from seed.


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