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.