Thursday 19 July 2012

More Tomato Talk

If I could grow only one thing it would be tomatoes, even though there's other things which I prefer to eat. I don't know what it is about tomatoes, I just love choosing the varieties I'm going to grow, sowing the seed and watching them grow and produce fruit. The taste of home grown tomatoes is far superior than anything you can buy in a supermarket too, just picked from the plant and warmed a little in the sun.

My tomato growing experience this year has so far been disappointing. I started out with big hopes as this year I was going to have a go at growing lots of plants outdoors in addition to the half a dozen I grow in the greenhouse. The seeds took a long time to germinate, and once they had, the seedlings seemed to stand for weeks without putting on any growth.

The plants are now in their final positions, and the ones in the greenhouse have put on quite a bit of growth since they were potted up but none of my plants look to be really healthy specimens this year, I can only put it down to the weather. I've ended up with just five plants outdoors, I was hoping for quite a few more, but I wasn't going to pot up plants just for the sake of it. There were some really sick looking ones, and when I tipped them out of their pots to put in the compost bin, I could see that they'd hardly made any roots.

So the tomato plants I've ended up with this year are as follows. In the greenhouse I have Tangella, Pannovy, Gardeners Delight, Black Cherry x 2 and Eleanor, a variety which was bred by Kath at Vegetable Heaven. Outdoors in the garden I have Tigerella, Ferline, Pannovy and Incas x 2. The indoor plants have put on more growth than the outdoor ones, but both have just started producing their first flowers. Let's hope it's not too late for them to produce some fruit which will ripen before autumn.

We go away for a fortnight on Saturday to Cornwall so the tomato plants will be left in my dad's capable care. I'm hoping to see some tomatoes on the plants on my return.

Thursday 12 July 2012

A Harvest At Last

At last, I've managed to harvest something from the allotment. These are the first broad beans I've grown, and they look pretty good. I remember hating broad beans when I was a child, but I think it's time to give them a go again, I'll never know if I like them now if I don't try them. I've harvested quite a few pods so there's plenty for all the family to try. I've heard that broad beans suffer quite badly with black fly but my plants haven't been touched, I haven't pinched out the tops either, it must be beginners luck.

My tomato plants are only just beginning to produce their first flowers. They're really late this year so I'm hoping that there's enough time for fruit to set and ripen, if not we'll be eating lots of green tomato chutney. I've heard weather reports that say September and October are going to be warm so perhaps we'll all get late harvests this year. I'm not holding my breath though.

My greenhouse is full of seedlings waiting to be planted out at the allotment. Most things have had to be resown this year as the first batch of veggies have succumbed to either the weather or slugs. I'm hoping that they'll get planted out at the weekend so that they can get established before we go on holiday. I've got visions of coming home to find that the same thing's happened with this next batch but there's not much I can do about that, it seems everything's conspiring against the gardener this year.

Thursday 5 July 2012

Time For Tennis

I'm not a lover of tennis, but I do love it when Wimbledon comes round each year as I know I'll be eating strawberries, one of my favourite fruits. I've created a new strawberry patch at the allotment this year and the plants haven't really got going yet, but I've got lots more plants in containers in the garden which are producing well. Hubby had started digging up and disposing of the old plants in the last strawberry bed we had at the allotment, but he's only got half of it done so far. I'm not complaining though as we're harvesting bowls full of lovely juicy strawberries from the plants which are left. Strawberry plants are supposed to be at their most productive for three to four years, after which, the amount of fruit they produce will start to dwindle. It doesn't look to be the case with these plants and I'm wondering if we've started to dig them up too soon. I think the plants which are left will get a reprieve, at least until they've given us this year's fruit.

I've started potting up my tomato plants in to their final positions. I'm really not happy with the plants this year, it took such a long time for them to put on any growth, and they don't look to be particularly strong plants. I've got quite a few varieties so it will be interesting to see if any do better than others. My plants are usually grown in the greenhouse, but I decided that I'd try some outdoor ones this year too, perhaps it's the wrong year to be trying this with the lack of sunshine we've had so far this year, but nothing ventured nothing gained. I may be eating lots of green tomato chutney come the end of the year.

It's been forecast that a month's worth of rain is expected to fall in just two days in some parts of the UK this week. It looks like it's already started here, it's been raining all morning with no sign of any let up. I'm starting to think that summer is going to pass us by this year, it doesn't look like it's ever going to arrive.
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