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The photos above were taken on September 30th and October 7th. This is Week Thirtyone -and there aren’t any tomatoes to take photos of. So Growing Tomatoes 2012 really stops at Week Thirty. Which is a nice round number. But shame it wasn’t a year for lots of nice, round, red or any other shaped or coloured tomatoes.
I’ve enjoyed picking the tomatoes I’ve grown. There really is something unique to picking and eating what’s been grown by you, on your own “land” – whatever that land maybe! Even if some years – like this year – it’s a very meagre crop. It may have been an odd year – but it would be odder still with no homegrown tomatoes.
The above photos are week 27 and the one below is today’s pickings. I think they might be the last. Despite the rain, the plants are still standing but few gems remain to be picked.
In terms of “weather continuity” I am sure I should now be picking up kindling and gathering it into the folds of my many-layered calico skirts to keep me warm through the winter – instead of dashing into the garden to fill a glass pyrex bowl with tomatoes. But still there is something very right about rustling through branches and leaves to pick your crop. To feel rough stem or velvet leaf and then to circle round a fruit and pull it off from the plant. There must be some ancient part of the brain that’s rewarded by such action – all tied to survival.
However looking at my slight bounty – it’s just as well it’s not my stomach that’s expecting reward from my modern day growing efforts.
Twenty-six weeks – half a year of tomato growing. To say it was half-hearted would be over doing it! I didn’t get to grow many plants, blight came early and the weather did not have the well-being of tomatoes or their growers forefront of mind. However, September has been lovely, doing its sunny utmost to secure a place as bestest month of the year.
I wonder up there, in the big weather warehouse, did someone came across a lot of sunny days – ask “what on earth are these still doing here?” pause to push back the brim of their all-weathers hat, be heard to mutter “they should have gone out months ago” and with a “well, what with frost, fog and worse all due shortly, they can’t stay here”, gave a mighty shove and sent them out down the hatch, like a bundle of apricot-clad descending monarchs to brighten summer’s closing weeks.
So finally there has been warmth and sun – and I suspect what will be the biggest haul of tomatoes I get this year.
We have orange, green and red!
As well as the flavour of Sungold, I love the colour. It glows – like a tiny uncarved Halloween pumpkin. A ship in a bottle pumpkin lantern.
The mystery tomato is still a radioactive shade of lime.
And Tumbler is in giving mode – throwing out red tomatoes and entertainment. This largest and littlest of fruit both on the same plant. The Tommies’ end of season, end of pier show.
These photos were all taken on the 27th August and feature what I feared this year would not bring – ripe tomatoes!
They are humbly hanging around in the garden – but really deserve to be mounted in the goldest, giltiest and most elaborate old masterpiece worthiest of frames and walked past with a hush and awe.
I certainly couldn’t bring myself to pick and eat them. Well not for a day or two anyway. It was just so nice to look out from the kitchen and see Red! I know that’s normally not a good way of seeing – but whoever coined that phrase was clearly not a tomato grower!
Five Green Tomato Plants stood in a row. Same as last week. I count that as SUCCESS! And what kind of counting could CROWN that – a faint shadow of orange on four tomatoes!
Only really three of them count – as the eagle-eyed might have spotted that the Ferline has Blossom-end Rot.
But I have slightly lost sight of the fact that I am raising tomatoes to eat. It’s rather that I am now engaged in some Urban Gardener versus the Spores of Blight tussle.
I move forward with probably less hope of serving up a home-grown tomato sandwich from my five than the keepers of breeding pandas are of hearing the patter of little panda paws from their pairs. But as long as they are all here – then Red is what I’m after!
So this week I’m waving a bamboo shoot aloft for the turning orange of Ferline, Sungold and Tumbler.
The description of Losetto comes from the Thompson and Morgan catalogue and the photos were taken at Wisley early in July.
The first of its kind! An outstanding new cascading bush tomato with built-in blight resistance. Producing masses of sweet and juicy cherry tomatoes that can be harvested over a long period from July to September. Perfect for containers or planters in the greenhouse or on the patio, but can also be planted in a sunny spot in the garden. Height and spread: 30cm (12″).
I wonder how it does fare against blight. And although it’s described as a container plant for patios – it’s perhaps a bit unruly to be the perfect patio plant. However as it’s showing signs of red fruit on an outdoor-grown plant in July, I be more than happy to put up with a bit of sprawl in exchange for early fruiting.
The world is awash with made-up tomato problems.
Yesterday’s was the “how can I stop my tomatoes ripening” problem. As if!
Today the Telegraph has trumped that with the even more non-real “wine-with-tomatoes“ problem, stating “it holds true that, raw, they can be difficult to match with wine.”
Where that leaves the true heaven that is crusty French bread, cheese of any or many kinds, sliced raw tomatoes, a scattering of salt crystals, maybe a drizzle of olive oil – AND – a glass beaker of red - I don’t know. Seems I’ve an unmatchy-matchy palate.
(And I am sure it was in the Telegraph that I read that a glass of rough red will taste so very much very better after first eating a Cherry tomato.)
Anyway were you to ever encounter this problem yourself - it seems the answer lies in a Sauvignon Blanc for raw tomatoes, a drier fruity rosé for cooked tomatoes. But as for tomatoes and red – that’s a strictly Dracula and Garlic Dough Balls kind of pairing!
So in the Green corner we have Black Cherry, Sungold and Tumbler.
Which made me wonder if this was a spoof question?
How can we stretch out the tomato season and keep our green tomatoes from turning red? But no – turns out it was genuine. I can’t think this is going to vex us much in the UK this year – but just in case someone somewhere is faced with this “call that a problem, problem”. Here are the suggestions:
- Wrap green tomatoes in newspaper and store them in a cool, dark place.
- Put green tomatoes on a bed sheet spread on the floor of a spare room. Keep the lights dim and run a ceiling fan on low to keep the air moving.
- Freeze them as they ripen. Drop the tomatoes in boiling water for a couple of minutes, then move them into ice water to quick-chill them. Pull off the skins and cut out the cores, then freeze them whole in freezer bags.
Of course the real question is how can you start the tomato season – and turn a green tomato, red?!
This is the gazing rather than grazing stage of fruiting.
As they stand they may never make a dewy salad – but they do make a pretty picture. Tomatoes at this stage are the reason I no longer believe in pixies at the bottom of the garden.
For surely if you were a little folk and you could furnish your hollow with these lovely Tomato Tuffets, maybe returning for the Calyx Chandelier, then surely you would?