PPPs Labour for May is . . .
Planting out the tomatoes
The day started quite sensibly – I cleared out the staging from one side of the greenhouse and swept the floor in readiness for the potted up tomatoes. I don't use grow-bags any more, pots are much better for tomatoes as they like to be planted deep – in fact I nip off the bottom two or three leaves and plant the lower 5cm of the stem below soil level, the plant will make extra roots and take up more water/nutrients.
So far so good.
Then I thought about where to put the outdoor tomatoes, it's best to keep them away from the potatoes as blight can be a problem later in the summer (if it ever rains – and it still hasn't!). I also need to keep the hens away from the tomatoes! so that rules out a large part of the main garden. In recent years I've grown tomatoes in pots in our courtyard, but it's shady and cool for half the day, so we don't get ripe tomatoes until late September. Cliff had suggested putting tomatoes in our front yard which gets full sun for most of the day – the best place is against a south-facing wall out of sight from the road and next to the outside water tap.
A brilliant solution! Except that the area is where we keep the dustbins and we've allowed nettles and ivy to run riot for at least three years – have you tried to pull up thick nettle root matting?
It took me hours labouring in the hot sunshine, I completely filled the council compostable-waste wheelie bin with nettle roots, and the result is this . . .
I put the pots of tomatoes into some old resin faux-lead planters that are far to manky to look good anywhere else, and I've left a few self-seeded perennials to give the area a casual 'tidy-but-not-too-tidy' air. (In case you're wondering, that large thing is a stable yard mounting block made from an old cistern filled with concrete – it's not going anywhere! but is useful for resting the watering can on while filling it with water.)
There are still lots of tomato plants left –
plenty for the gate-side stall . . .
It's my contribution to the Village Fete's plant stall, people don't want to buy tomato plants in late June so I sell them now and give the stall the money.
This year I'm only growing four varieties:
RED CHERRY – it's a cherry tomato and it's red (duh!)
I bought the seeds on our holiday to Tenerife in March, I wanted a bog-standard, good flavoured, easy to grow, cherry tomato; to graze on and to use in salads.
TIGERELLA – it's stripy!
For something a bit different.
LIGURIA – an Italian paste tomato
I bought the seeds years ago while on holiday in Italy – the packet was huge but tomato seeds stay viable for a long time. This is one of those big tomatoes you see on Italian market stalls, like a full sack gathered at the top; it's perfect for the topping on bruschetta – skinned, chopped and warmed with a little garlic and olive oil.
IMUR PRIOR BETA – you what?! exactly!
This was my choice from this year's Heritage Seed Library list, here is the description:
Indeterminate. Cordon. Donated by John Yeoman, this variety was selected from high altitude areas in the Chilean mountains and developed in Norway for growing in cooler regions. Also thought to be blight resistant*. The juicy red fruit have soft, smooth flesh and are slightly acidic in flavour. Let us know what you think**.
* mmmm? I think I'll put some in the vegetable garden and give that a test.
** Must remember to send feedback to the HSL.