Tuesday, September 14

They came good in the end - well sort of anyway!

Maybe not quite as many tomatoes as some of you have harvested but at one point it seemed that we may not get any red (or yellow) tomatoes so we are happy with this lot and there are still more to come.

You may have read before that we have had problems with our tomatoes this year. The ones in our plot greenhouse have been a total disaster with all our successful cropping coming from the garden greenhouse. Both lots of tomatoes were grown from the same seed with some plants being planted in the plot greenhouse and others in the garden greenhouse. The only difference really was the compost that was used once they were potted up. The tomatoes in the garden greenhouse were planted in growbag compost and those on the plot in a multi-purpose compost from a local garden centre.
We sowed twelve varieties of tomatoes, some through choice and others because we acquired packets of seeds free with magazines. (You can't just leave them in their packets can you?) The varieties that we sowed are listed on a spreadsheet on this page of our website. We have grown some of the failed varieties successfully before but this year some even failed to germinate so again the only thing we can think to blame is poor compost. The photo above shows our most successful varieties. The large orange yellow one is Amish Gold (this had a really good flavour), the yellow one is Yellow Perfection, the one on the top left is Brandywine (a fairly small one as this variety can produce monsters like this one that we grew last year), next to that is Costoluto Fiorentino (the convulutions make this tomato a bit awkward to use especially the smaller ones), the small tomatoes are Tumbling Tom and the remaining one is Moneymaker.

We've also had some more tomatoes with confused  identities ...

Another problematic crop this year has been our pea crop. This time it was more the weather than the compost that seemed to have been against us - I also suspect that something had nibbled any pea shoots that managed to break through the dry soil. The first sowing was fine but after that it was a battle. Last week a late sowing of peas actually managed to produce a small crop. It may have been small but the peas were a treat and not a maggot in sight.

My full diary entry for last week can be read here (just in case you are interested) and last week's photo album can be viewed here


  1. Glad that you got your tomatoes in the end. Tomatoes are one of my favourite things to grow, I just love all the different varieties, shapes and colours.

  2. Well at least you got some tomatoes in the end and those late peas must have put a smile on your face!!

    I always find that when I grow late peas there are never any maggots in them...I think the life cycle of the pea moth is an early one....maybe we should just grow peas late to avoid the nasty maggots!!

  3. Yes it was a case of better late than never.
    Your'e right Tanya the late peas miss the egg laying stage of the pea maggot but unfortunately they also tend to be when there isn't enough rain which I guess is why these peas took so long to mature but they were good.

  4. You have some very interesting tomato varieties. I have been looking at your list of varieties and there is a Black variety, but I don't see it on pictures. Do you think that black tomatoes are more difficult to grow?
    I also see that a number of crops failed in the greenhouse. Did you keep the doors (or windows) open all the time? I was told that there always should be some kind of ventilation.

  5. Hi vrtlarica
    We grew a black variety last year successfully.

    All our greenhouse failures were in the plot greenhouse - the plants just didn't grow away after being transplanted and yet some given to us ready potted by a plot neighbour were OK in there.

    We are convinced the problem was with the compost. It was a multipurpose type and we also had problems with some seeds not germinating. The tomatoes in the garden greenhouse grew really well but the seeds were sown in a compost from a different bag and the plants grown on in growbag compost.

    The problem of poor germination and failing to thrive wasn't just confined to tomatoes and the same compost was used for other things. It seemed that some bags of the same type of compost were OK but other bags must have come from a different batch.

    Also other gardeners have experienced the same problem.

    There have been lots of complaints about compost in the UK for the past couple of years so much so that gardening programmes and magazines have done some testing and found that compost is really variable. It is a problem that begun when companies tried to cut down on use of peat.

    September 14, 2010

  6. how were your blackberries this year? mine have been terrible, though we did have a bumper crop of gooseberries!

  7. I never had luck with tomatoes. Our peas trellis stick broke due to strong wind last week had some trouble putting them up again. You still have good harvest from your tomatoes.

  8. Welcome Benny
    The blackberries were OK - it took a bit of a slow start to ripen one side of the canes but this just meant that instead of all coming at once the picking was more spread out.
    Gooseberries were loaded

    Hi MKG - Our peas were not at all successful - I think the weather turned too dry when they needed rain and something loved nibbling the young shoots. The harvest is from the garden greenhouse last year we had lots more and made lots of raosted tomatoes fot the freezer for pasta and soups etc.

  9. So many tomatoes!
    that is a very nice harvest, is so nice that you had the chance to grow so many varieties. Too bad the ones in the plot didn't work as well.
    Also ,on the confused identities i also see one pumpkin tomato on the box.

  10. Blimey, you are harvesting away at the moment :D it's nice to just look.. and dream on for next year! :D

    That is all I can do until then.. dream :)

  11. Hello ~fer it's amzing the peculair shape that some fruit and veg grow I have a page of photos on my website strange fruit and vegetables

    But next year it will be a reality Craig

  12. Sue
    when photographing two tomatoes together always include a large courgette, with tomatoes placed at the stem end of said courgette; it never fails to get a laugh - at least with the people i know.

    Plot 49

  13. I might have known that you'd come up with something like that Anon - I have your number even if you aren't plot 49 any more!


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