Tomatoes ~ roll on the taste of summer

With the warm weather I’m longing for the taste of summer

Homegrown tomatoes have to be one of the best veggies to grow as the flavour is far superior to anything you can buy in the shops, they simply wipe the floor in terms of sweetness, sharpness and looks, with anything that the majority of commercial growers have to offer.

I know it is stating the obvious, but the British summer is not always conducive to growing tomatoes, it will provide plenty of rain but sometimes not enough of the bright stuff. So for the last few years I’ve only grown Cherry tomatoes, because I’ve found that they grow well and ripen much more easily than the larger types.

I’ve always grown my tomatoes at home where I can keep an eye on them, water them regularly, plus I’ve generally  avoided blight, which can wipe out crops on the allotments.

But this year I’m the proud owner of a 6ft by 6ft greenhouse, so have been tempted back into growing some standards and beefsteaks. And as my knowledge of varieties and heritage seeds has grown I’ve looked out for some more unusual tomatoes to grow. Added to that is the wonderful Seed Saving Circle on A4A,  and I have some tempting tomatoes to grow this year thanks to them (and some seeds from friends), and I’ve included their descriptions: –

  • Blaby Special  – A traditional red
  • Black Cherry ~ Cordon with a regular leaf, productive plants producing good size trusses of purple/black cherry tomatoes. They have a sweet, super flavour and are great for eating from the vine, also look particularly good in salads mixed with other coloured cherries
  • Blue OSU  ~ Bred at Oregon State University and not officially released. A cordon variety with regular leaves which notably can take on a blue-black colour from strong sunlight. Fruits ripen to red but where they have been in sunlight the skin is coloured almost black. Described as ‘a cordon tomato and needs full sun to get as much blue colour as possible,  not actually too bad a flavour, there are better flavoured tomato’s out there, but for the novelty value of having some blue tomatoes in your mixed tomato salad at a family buffet, is quite fun and is definitely a talking point. Gave quite a decent crop over a longish period of time
  • British Geen Tiger ~ A regular leaf producing beautifully deep deep red large cherry fruits with stunning dark green stripes. Texture is firm with good flavour and nicely sweet. Very good cooked as they hold their shape well. described  “as the famous M&S tomato. Found it prolific when it finally got round to producing fruit, interesting coloration, rather thick skin
  • Fablonelistnyj ~ A very tasty yellow flat cherry – Description from HSL catalogue.  Indeterminate, Cordon. Donated by Paul Parker of Leicester University, who noted it as being a “very sweet small tomato”.  Guardian Stella Jackson thought them “a first rate trouble-free tomato.  Flavour is excellent, very sweet.  Does not seem to affect arthritis (as some red varieties do)”.  Dianne Bailey comments “You will never get bored with this yellow variety, it cooks well, but you won’t be able to resist its sweet flavour long enough to get it into the frying pan”  Guardian Helen Homewood adds, “a must in any salad bowl and once picked will last in an eatable condition for several weeks
  • Galina ~ a cordon, potato-leaf yellow cherry. Full name is Galina’s Yellow though often just called Galina/Galina’s. This is an heirloom variety originating in Siberia, producing really tasty yellow cherry tomatoes. Good doer for cooler climes
  • Mexican Honey ~ a red cherry tomato, cordon with regular leaf. Very sweet, not much info about this variety although stated as Mexican in origin. Original plants were grown from Tatiana’s seed and grown in a polytunnel, vigorous growers producing a good crop. Flavour was a little disappointing early in the season, but rapidly improved. A tasty little number I will happily grow again
  • Sungold – a popular yellow cherry tomato
  • Tigerella ~ red and green striped tomato, best grown as a cordon and indoors
  • Marmande ~ A classic beefsteak tomato producing ribbed large fruit

I sowed the seeds indoors in small pots at the beginning of March, potted them on in April and finally planted them out last week. Some are in the greenhouse, others will be in large pots on the patio, where I can reach out and nibble on a tomato as I sit and ponder life, and why British summers are so unpredictable.

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