Tomato Urban’s Delight

From the 2019 seed swap something we are yet to know exactly what it is but probably something like Gardener’s Delight.

Description

This is a slightly unusual activity. The allotment website that we visit had a “largest truss” competition and this was the winner (in fact it had such a large truss that nobody else bothered) with 60+ fruit. The person who grew it (Urban) said it was “just a Gardener’s Delight. The question was asked whether it was a singular freak or a genetic modification which could be inherited. Urban agreed to distribute the seed through the seed swap and we are growing it out to see that it does.

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Recipe: Slow Cooker Leek & Potato Soup

This is an incredibly simple recipe and produces an acceptable soup. (Acceptable because like all soups with potato in them, it tends to be a little “gloopy”.

Its barely even worth a layout:

The ingredients are (as you would expect): Leeks, potatoes, stock (vegetable or chicken- enough to cover the leeks & potatoes) and pepper (we never add salt to anything, there’s enough in the stock).

The method is: Chop the leeks & potatoes into relatively small pieces. Add the stock and cook in the slow cooker on high for about four hours. By this time everything should be soft so whizz it with a stick blender and hey presto you’re done.

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Growing my Tomatoes in lockdown

Tomatoes Growing

I’m not sure if I grow tomatoes in the same way as other people. My desire (usually) is to grow as many different varieties as I can fit into the available space and, because of the weather in the UK, this usually means growing them in the polytunnel or greenhouse. This year however, I think productivity is at least as important as the number of varieties so I’ve decided that I will aim to fill the greenhouses with tomatoes and also grow some outside hoping that the weather will be kind.

What you see above are two trays of 7cm pots, each of which were sown with five seeds. The trays conveniently take 15 pots so in an ideal world with perfect germination I would have 30 pots of five plants. Now of course the world isn’t perfect and four cultivars had no germination (possibly not warm enough) and some have fewer than five plants (in fact some have only one). I have sown some more to try and make up for the lack of plants but they will be running behind.

At the moment, because of the cold evenings, the trays are ported into the greenhouse in the morning and then back into the utility room for overnight.

When the plants are a little larger I will stop watering them for a couple of days so that the compost dries out a bit and then pot the plants up into individual 7cm pots to let them grow on. Some (probably 60 plants, four trays) will continue to be ported in and out and others will be left permanently in the greenhouse, trusting to luck that they survive any cold nights. Some of the plants would normally be culled at this point because I only have space in the greenhouse for 40 or so plants.

When they fill the 7cm pots, they will get transferred into 9cm pots. At that point I can only get eight pots in a tray and the plants will be 9-12 inches tall making it much more difficult to transport them to and from the greenhouse so I will leave even more outside permanently. Again, some will be culled, except this year I might try to keep the maximum number of plants to increase the crop of tomatoes.

Hopefully, by the start of June the frosts will be over and I’ll be able to plant them into their final growing pots or in the ground.

Below the tomatoes are my plugs of lettuces which I sowed at the end of March. They don’t get the luxury of being carried in and out but they’ll get potted up to 7cm pots in much the same way as the tomatoes to give us the volume of lettuces that we seem to eat through the summer.

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Tomato Father Frost

A “standard” red tomato on short potato leafed indeterminate vines

Description

This tomato is from the 2019 seed swap so this page will be updated as we get more information

As a potato leafed variety, it is a little different from the standard tomato. However, it is supposed to be early and (in our experience) many of the early varieties are potato leafed (Bloody Butcher, Quedlinberger Fruhe Liebe, Stupice) so there’s no real surprise there. Its supposedly of Russian/East European origin as again are many of the early varieties so we’re hopeful that this will prove tasty.We are also growing Bloody Butcher in 2020 so it will be interesting to see which comes first.

Quick Facts

  • Fruit Type: Standard
  • Fruit Shape: Round
  • Fruit Size: Medium
  • Fruit Colour: Red
  • Flesh Colour: Red
  • Plant Type: Semi-Determinate
  • Leaf Type: Potato
  • Seed Type: Open Pollinated
  • Ripe Days: Early
  • Taste:
  • Our Source: 2019 SS
  • Origin: European – Did Moroz
  • Alternatives:
  • Fruit per Truss:
  • Truss Spacing:

Buy Your Seeds Here

Prices given are for a packet of seeds (and may be wrong) different suppliers have different numbers of seeds in a packet.

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Tomato Dancing with Smurfs

A blue cherry tomato on Indeterminate vines.

Description

Another blue cherry tomato from the 2019 seed swap.

The web suggests that this was first created at the Oregon State University and further developed by Tom Wagner (a well know tomato breeder) and released in 2012.

My guess is that its colour will depend upon the amount of sunshine so we’ll have to see how it does in the UK.

April 2020 Update

The seeds germinated well and the plants are growing nicely. They have a slight purplish tinge which is not unexpected.

Quick Facts

  • Fruit Type: Cherry
  • Fruit Shape: Round
  • Fruit Size: Small
  • Fruit Colour: Blue
  • Flesh Colour: Dark
  • Plant Type: Indeterminate
  • Leaf Type: Regular
  • Seed Type: Open Pollinated
  • Ripe Days:
  • Taste:
  • Our Source: 2019 SS
  • Origin: USA – Tom Wagner
  • Alternatives:
  • Fruit per Truss: ?
  • Truss Spacing: ?

Buy Your Seeds Here

Prices given are for a packet of seeds (and may be wrong) different suppliers have different numbers of seeds in a packet.

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Tomato Brad’s Atomic

A multi-coloured grape shaped cherry tomato on indeterminate vines.

Description

Another blue/multi-coloured tomato from the 2019 seed swap which we’re growing in 2020 for the first time. According to the web it was developed by Brad Gates the owner of Wild Boar Farms in California. The descriptions seem to be of a tasty, grape shaped, multi-coloured cherry tomato which grows well in California. It will be interesting to see how it does in the cooler, less sunny UK climate.

As we get more information, we will update this page.

April 2020 Update

We sowed our seeds slightly later than usual this year because the polytunnel was destroyed over the winter. However, we had good germination and they are growing well.

Quick Facts

  • Fruit Type: Cherry
  • Fruit Shape: Grape
  • Fruit Size: Small
  • Fruit Colour: Red/Black Stripe
  • Flesh Colour: Green
  • Plant Type: Indeterminate
  • Leaf Type: Wispy
  • Seed Type: Open Pollinated
  • Ripe Days:
  • Taste: ?
  • Our Source: 2019 SS
  • Origin: Brad Gates
  • Alternatives:
  • Fruit per Truss: ?
  • Truss Spacing: ?

Buy Your Seeds Here

Prices given are for a packet of seeds (and may be wrong) different suppliers have different numbers of seeds in a packet.

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Tomato Blue Ambrosia

A dark/gold cherry tomato on an Indeterminate plant

Description

From the 2019 seed swap, we are growing this for the first time in 2020. As we get more details, this page will be updated. However, according to the web its a tasty, prolific cultivar producing golden cherry fruit that turn violet in strong sunlight. This of course makes it difficult to predict in the UK because of the lack of “strong sunlight”. However, we shall see.

Its an open pollinated variety, a cross between Bosque Blue & Ambrosia Gold (neither of which we have grown) and, whilst it is reputedly stable, it hasn’t been around for very long. We’ve found it in a few places on the web and have included one in our list. We’ve never bought seeds from this place so cannot comment upon their reliability.

Quick Facts

  • Fruit Type: Cherry
  • Fruit Shape: Round
  • Fruit Size: Small (1 inch)
  • Fruit Colour: Gold/Black
  • Flesh Colour:
  • Plant Type: Indeterminate
  • Leaf Type: Regular
  • Seed Type: Open Pollinated
  • Ripe Days: Early
  • Taste: ?
  • Our Source: 2019 SS
  • Origin: Bosque Blue/Ambrosia Gold
  • Alternatives:
  • Fruit per Truss: ?
  • Truss Spacing: ?

Buy Your Seeds Here

Prices given are for a packet of seeds (and may be wrong) different suppliers have different numbers of seeds in a packet.

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Polytunnel now a Netted cover

So, the polytunnel cover was ripped apart by storm Ciara, flapping around and squashing my broadbeans in the process. My original plan was to re-cover and extend it but this proved to be impossible because of reasons beyond my control. So I had to make another decision.

Despite the rain and wind, I’ve managed to put up the framework leaving the ends as they were not damaged. As you can see, the present state is a simple net cover over three quarters of the original frame, turned through 90 degrees and left on the original bed. The net comes from a frame that I bought for the allotment a few years ago which didn’t really prove to be of much use (whilst relatively expensive, the framework wasn’t strong enough to stand up to the wind and I couldn’t stand up under the netting).

My plan is to use it like this for this year, I will possibly put some strawberry plants in the space hoping that its good enough to keep the squirrels away, but I will also plant french beans, lettuce and other things in there to see how they grow compared to being in the polytunnel.

The netting is hard to see but there

There are still a few bits and pieces to do, the slabs to the right need to be lowered so that I can open the door properly and the water butt on the greenhouse moved to give more space but basically its finished.

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2020 Tomatoes Sown

After Tuesday’s indecision as to what to sow, today (despite the wind and rain) I spent some time in the greenhouse sowing my tomatoes which are now on top of the cupboards in the kitchen (a warm place). My final set was:

Ailsa Craig, Bloody Butcher, Blue Ambrosia, Brad’s Atomic, Brown Berry, Crimson Crush (Cloudy Days), Dancing with Smurfs, Darby Striped, Father Frost, Gardener’s Delight, Garden Pearl, Green Grapes, Ildi, Kibit’s Ukrainian, Kumato, Lemon Tree, Marizol Gold, Maskotka, Mortgage Lifter, Mountain Magic, Oleron Yellow, Principe Borghese, Red Robin, Rosella, Sandpoint, Summer Cider, Tiny Tim, Tumbling Tom Red, Urban’s Delight.

Which is more than I planned but there are some old seeds in amongst them so there’s a chance that they won’t germinate. I’ve also tried to do a mix of indoor and outdoor tomatoes, determinate and indeterminate so that despite less space indoors I will have a selection giving a mix of colours and sizes by putting more outside than I would normally do..

I also sowed some more Broadbeans, the overwintering lot having been destroyed when the polytunnel cover split and waved about in the wind.

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2020 Tomato Decisions

I’m late this year deciding what to grow as the weather has been awful (wet, wet & wet again – its raining now) and after 12 years, Storm Ciara damaged my polytunnel cover beyond repair and I’ve spent what reasonable weather there has been working out what to do with it.

The obvious thing (I hear you cry) is to simply recover it and get on with it. However, I’m trying to reduce the amount of gardening I’m forced to do. (Forced as opposed to want). My original intention was to get rid of one of greenhouses, extend the polytunnel and recover the extended tunnel (I really would have liked to widen the tunnel but I already knew that wasn’t possible so the idea was to go from a 20ft tunnel to a 25ft (or 30ft) tunnel by adding a couple of units and buying a bigger cover. Shot down by the fact that the company I bought the tunnel from all those years ago was not doing extensions and odd sizes “due to Brexit”. (My guess is that Brexit is a reasonable excuse for getting out of the business which is OK just awkward).

So instead, at the moment, the tunnel has been swung around, shortened and will be covered by a net to be a “walk-in covered vegetable bed”. I’ll grow beans, lettuces, carrots, and things like that, rather than anything that would like warmth. A decision which reduces the amount of space available for growing tomatoes.

As a result, I’m aiming to grow about 30 plants, two each of 15 different varieties and selecting from the ever-growing number of varieties in my seedbank is proving to be awkward as ever. I know I will grow:

  • Summer Cider; Mortgage Lifter; Oleron Yellow; Darby Striped; Brown Berry; A Red Cherry (probably Kbits Ukranian); Green Grapes; and a couple of red standard (Bloody Butcher & Alicante??);

Then I have to choose from the varieties I’ve never grown before that have come from the seed swap:

  • Urban’s Delight is one I have to try (this is a Gardener’s Delight which had the largest truss I have seen on any derivative of Gardener’s Delight and I’ll be interested to know if I can duplicate it); then there’s Dancing with Smurfs;

After that I have to try and choose ones that fill out the choice of colours and sizes:

  • Green Zebra; Aunt Ruby’s German Green; Black Brandywine; …

And, as I’ll have to grow some outside this year, I’ll try some of the supposedly Blight Resistant varieties (Crimson Crush, Mountain Magic) which I tried (unsuccessfully) at the allotment a few years ago. Hopefully better protection at home might give a solution.

I’ll need to give them more space than I did last year when I treated my tomatoes badly and they performed poorly in response. An issue is whether I don’t grow any peppers to give me space.

Anyway as ever growing is the challenge I like to take up.

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