Friday, 13 June 2014

Little Miracles Do Happen

It's been touch and go with my tomatoes this year. They didn't get off to a very good start when the compost I pricked them out in to was rubbish, the seedlings turned yellow and didn't grow. I quickly repotted them in to a different brand of compost and they rallied round really well putting on lots of growth and greening up beautifully.

Then came the Arggghhhhhhh. Disaster! post telling of how the plants had been left inside a hot greenhouse without any ventilation. Needless to say, they weren't in the best of health when they were discovered but I managed to save a couple of them which weren't in too bad a state. I was going to dispose of the rest of them but I left them in the greenhouse just to see if they made any sort of recovery, and they have. Well, some of them have.

In the meantime, I'd bought a few tomato plants from a local plant sale, so my final tomato count for this year is as follows:

Greenhouse Plants
Costoluto Fiorentino
Gardeners Delight
Alicante (bought from the local plant sale)

Outdoor Plants
Costoluto Fiorentino
Gardeners Delight
Ailsa Craig X 2

Outdoor Bush Plants
Maskotka X 2 (bought from the local plant sale)
Gartenperle (bought from the local plant sale)
Ildi
Totem

I got them all put in to their final positions at the weekend. I'm using tomato growbags cut in half for the outdoor indeterminate, or cordon, tomatoes. I used this method last year and it worked really well.


The bush type tomatoes have been planted up in pots which contain compost from a growbag.


I bought some self watering containers at the back end of last year for the three tomatoes I'm growing in the greenhouse, these have also been filled with the compost from a growbag. Unfortunately, there was a problem when I came to fit one of the watering tubes in to the container, it didn't fit, so I could only plant up two of them. I got in touch with the company who supplied them and they've sent me some replacement tubes. It was super quick service, great customer service. Things do go wrong with orders sometimes, but I don't mind so long as a company takes ownership of the problem and sorts it out without delay. I'll be planting up that last container this weekend. The two plants already in these containers are ones I grew myself, you can see the damage to the lower leaves which was caused when they'd been left in the greenhouse without ventilation but the new growth looks strong and healthy.


Lots of my tomato plants are now flowering, especially the bush ones. It won't be long until they're setting fruit.


Now that the tomato plants have taken over half the greenhouse, I've had to have a bit of a reshuffle. The staging is still in place on the right hand side for the time being and this is holding seed trays. I've sown some dwarf French beans, some wallflowers and some sweet williams. They've actually all germinated since this photo was taken.


Down the centre of the greenhouse is my little peach tree, can you see the peaches hanging from the branches? My fig tree is also here and so are a couple of my cucumbers. I'm growing two varieties of cucumber this year, Mini Munch and Crystal Lemon, I've got two plants of each and I shall be trying one of each in the greenhouse and one of each outdoors just to see which do best. I wasn't going to bother with Crystal Lemon this year as I'm not keen, but they were such a big hit with my dad last year that I thought I'd grow some for him again. The staging will soon be removed so that the cucumbers can be positioned in its place and I'll move the two little trees outdoors.


Everything else has now been moved out of the greenhouse and most things are now settled in at the allotment, just a few things left to plant, including my leeks. I still need to start off some more climbing beans to replace the ones which the slugs have eaten, that's another job for this weekend.

48 comments:

  1. I love the way you have planted......looks so neat and orderly.......much better than mine I have to say :)

    Wow you will have a lot of tomatoes. If you have a glut, do you make pasta sauces for freezer or pickle them??

    All looks so good......have fun at the allotment, should be a nice weekend.

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    1. My garden isn't big so I have to try and keep things neat and tidy otherwise it all just gets overrun. Saying that, there's plenty of areas which definitely need a spruce up. Last year, I roasted the tomatoes and then froze them, some I roasted with other vegetables and it was nice to have a taste of summer during the winter months. I also share my harvests with my mum and dad as they no longer have a garden so they're unable to grow their own.

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  2. I had a problem with the water tubes of one of my new self-watering pots too. The tubes were the same diameter, so the one wouldn't fit inside the other like it is supposed to. I improvised a solution, but now I am wishing I had done what you did. I think your toms look pretty good, considering what they have been through!

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    1. That's exactly the problem that I had. The company were brilliant, they didn't even post the replacements, they were hand delivered. My tomatoes have made a good recovery so far, I'm just hoping that the fruit doesn't suffer as a result of everything they've been through.

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  3. I'm sure that your relieved that you've ended up okay with tomatoes after such a rocky start. I sowed some dwarf French beans earlier in the week.
    Happy gardening, Flighty xx

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    1. It's a big relief, I didn't think I was going to end up with half a dozen plants, let alone a dozen. Hope your French beans germinate well for you, mine have all popped up now so they just need transplanting in to the allotment.

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  4. I love your posts Jo, I always make myself a cuppa before I read, keep up the good work your spurring me on through my disasters!

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    1. Ahhhh, what a lovely comment, thank you. We all have disasters, you should see the beans on my allotment, and there I was thinking I'd done good this year, ah well, you win some you lose some.

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  5. It's amazing just how much room there is when the tomatoes start to leave the greenhouse :) Will be interested to hear how you get on with the Maskotka Jo. I got some free seeds with a gardening mag but decided to leave them until next year.

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    1. There was all the squash and courgette plants in there so it creates lots of room once they're moved out. I've read about Maskotka on Mark's blog, Mark's Veg Plot, they seem to be a good tomato so I'm looking forward to trying them.

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  6. You've been busy! :) Like the idea of grow bags cut in half, will have to try that one next year, stacking them doesn't seem to be doing mine any good.

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    1. I used the growbags in the same way last year and my outdoor tomatoes were brilliant, probably better than I've ever grown before so I'm hoping for a repeat this year. I used the growbags designed for tomatoes but you could probably get away with the smaller ones as there's lots of compost in half a bag once it's all fluffed up this way.

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  7. So many lovely tomato plants. I' ve had to give up outdoor ones because of blight. Have you had any problems with it?
    The self watering system is a brilliant idea. Tomatoes are so difficult to keep well watered.

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    1. Last year was the first year I've really grown my tomatoes outdoors and they didn't suffer from blight. The outdoor ones were actually far better than the greenhouse ones so it will be interesting to see which do the best this year. It's the first year I'm trying the self watering containers so I'm hoping they keep the plants happy, especially as I'm going on holiday soon and my garden helpers won't be around every day.

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  8. It's all hard, worrying work this growing lark, isn't it? I shall be thankful when and if it all grows and I'm cooking and eating the produce.
    Love from Mum
    xx

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    1. It won't be long now. It's a relief when everything gets shifted in to their final positions, though of course, there's the slugs to deal with then. They've already had my beans.

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  9. Glad to hear that your tomato plants are now doing so well. In fact they all look fabulous. Love how you have cut the grow bags in half, think I may have to try that with my decking ones.

    X x

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    1. It's such a surprise that the plants have bounced back so well, I just hope their bad start doesn't affect the fruit. The growbags worked really well last year. I'd been looking for an alternative to laying them flat on the floor as there just isn't enough depth in them for the plants to put their roots down so upending them and cutting them in half works well.

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  10. You are definitely tidier than me. All your tender living care with the tomatoes gave paid off xxxx

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    1. The problem is that it doesn't all stay this tidy, it's ok when plants are first moved but it doesn't take long for the mess to take over again. I'm really pleased with the tomatoes now, I just hope nothing else occurs to thwart my attempts at home grown tomatoes.

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  11. Wow... your tomatoes are really healthy! Mine... no tomato plants remain on the last planted. On the end of may I sowed again. I hope they will be ok.
    Happy gardening and have a nice weekend!

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    1. It's taken some time to get my tomato plants to this stage, there's been lots of hurdles along the way so don't give up on yours, I'm sure they'll come good in the end.

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  12. Just sown some French beans, wallflowers and sweet Williams too. Slugs finished off our first batch of French beans once they were planted in the plot. Will be interesting to see how the toms get on in those self watering containers.

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    1. It's the first time I've sown sweet williams, I've said I'll sow them every year and then never got round to it so I'm pleased I've actually done it this year. I think I'll have to put slug pellets down with the French beans when they go out, the climbers have all disappeared after the slugs had a good feed. I may invest in more self watering containers if they do well in these, though the grow bags on their ends work really well.

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  13. Compost quality is so hit and miss isn't it? It's so annoying after all the effort gardeners put in not to mention the expense. Seems you and I were sowing exactly the same things

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    1. It is hit and miss, though I don't remember it being quite so bad a few years ago. Like you say, it isn't cheap either. We'll have matching allotments with the things we're sowing.

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  14. Your plants certainly look healthy now. Strange about the compost, we had exactly the same here, everything I planted were stunted or died or just didn't germinate, others were saying the same too. I've ended up with pumpkins and herbs left. You will soon be enjoying all your hard work. Have a great weekend xcx

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    1. It's so annoying that we spend our money on compost and then it damages our plants. It's becoming a common problem, though it's just trial and error whether we get a decent one or not. Even bags of the same brand can differ so much.

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  15. I am so glad that you have had some recovery with the tomatoes, you certainly should have a lot of fruits if they all do well. The idea of the half growbag for the tomatoes is such a good one, far more sturdy than just a flat growbag and with far more room for each plant, plus no pots to store over the winter! How clever are you Jo!!! Happy gardening this weekend. xx

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    1. I'm hoping that I get a good harvest, I supply my mum and dad now too as they don't have a garden to grow their own. The growbags worked really well this way last year. I thought they may not be very sturdy and blow over, but there's a lot of weight in them and they stay put. The plants did really well in them.

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  16. Tomatoes will put up with a lot, bless them. I love to watch plants recover - it fills me with such hope. Good for you, growing cucs for your dad! Sorry to hear about the compost though. I've never had that happen - you must have been livid. It's tricky enough to find time to prick out seedlings without having to do it twice. Thank goodness all is looking so well in your greenhouse now.

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    1. I didn't think the plants would recover after being left in the greenhouse, it just shows how resilient they are. I keep hearing about other people's plants being affected by the compost they're growing in, it's quite worrying really. It seems to be a widespread problem these days.

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  17. It looks so near & tidy Jo, it puts my greenhouse to shame. I'm glad some good came out of your disaster!

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    1. It didn't look like this before I moved everything around, I can assure you. I'm still really surprised that the plants have bounced back so well, it just proves that you shouldn't be in a rush to dispose of things without giving them a chance.

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  18. All is looking good in your greenhouse and hope the tomatoes now do well. I like to plant bush butter beans as they are my favourites in taste and tenderness. Must get my small veg bed ready for spring. Take care.

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    1. I think it's best to grow what you enjoy eating the most. I know that all the family enjoy beans so that's why I try to grow plenty, enough to freeze too, though I need to sow more otherwise we'll get a meagre harvest this year.

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  19. Even though you've ended up with a lot of tomato plants, Jo, it will be wonderful to have a big crop for making things as well as eating fresh. I was going to limit myself to 3 varieties, then found some Gardener's Delight seeds which Flighty recommends so sowed those and, on top of that, bought some Indigo Rose black tomato plugs at Chelsea! I grow all of mine outside as I don't have a greenhouse so they just have to get on with it. Seems to work okay! I'm dreading putting my brassicas out because of the slug problem, you'd think it would be easing off by now wouldn't you!

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    1. I usually grow Gardener's Delight, they're a lovely tasting tomato and they usually produce lots of fruit too. My brassicas are outside and I've netted them so that the butterflies can't get at them so I'm just hoping that the slugs are leaving them alone. There's no let up from them.

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  20. My tomatoes have rallied surprisingly as well. They're in the garden, and they looked yellow and really pathetic to start with, but now they're nice and green and I'm allowing myself a little hope. I need to sow some Crystal Lemons, they did well for me last year, although like you they're not my favourite. The guinea pig loved them though! I do so love that peach tree, the foliage is wonderful. I hope you have a good Sunday. CJ xx

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    1. Glad to hear that your tomatoes are doing well too. I didn't dare hope that mine would rally as well as they have but they're now growing well so it seems they're doing fine. I got loads of cucumbers off the Crystal Lemon plant last year, it's a shame I'm not so keen on them, but my dad did very well out of it.

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  21. I hope you got the gardening jobs done that you had planned this weekend, Jo. Everything is looking good despite a few problems along the way. You're very meticulous and I'm sure you'll be rewarded by lots of veggie produce and seasonal flowers later on.

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    1. I got most things done, though I'd planned a trip to the allotment which didn't happen as other things took over. Never mind, I'm hoping to get down there during the week. I'm hoping that the tomatoes come good now and that they reward me for giving them a second, and third, chance at life.

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  22. How wonderful to hear of the recovery of your tomatoes, they all look fab and those flowers will soon turn to mini fruit!
    I have had to empty my greenhouse too and have no more room to sow any seeds....sobs...My runners have been devoured too, now I only actually have one plant growing and that's hanging onto life for grim death.xxx

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    1. The tomato plants are just starting to set fruit now, very exciting thinking of the harvests to come. I've resown all my beans, I'm just hoping that the slugs leave this next batch alone, but I'm not convinced they will.

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  23. Not too bad on the tomato front then. Have you grown totem before. They're one of my favourites - a really reliable plant. I've got some fruit on mine so I'm just hoping we don't get blight. It's been much too hot to have the greenhouse door shut so they're pretty much open to the elements. We're going a way for a few days so now I'm panicking about water. I really want a crop of tomatoes this year. :)

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    1. I grew Totem last year, they did really well and produced lots of fruit. I too get panicked about my plants when I'm going away. I hope you have a lovely time and that your plants thrive in your absence.

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  24. My garden is in need of some attention since being away this last week. Lucky for me my husband stayed at home and watered the garden everything is look so green and lush :)

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    1. I'm going away soon, I'm hoping that my garden helpers will be on hand to water everything. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that everything survives whilst I'm away.

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