I’ve been sorting through my tomato seeds and trying to work out what to grow in 2023. As ever, its a balancing act, trying to select a range of cultivars that meet the conflicting needs of an amateur grower with not a lot of space. I have seeds for around 200 different cultivars and (as ever) the rules are:
- Grow what I like (so Summer Cider gets in);
- Grow what I want to perpetuate (i.e. ones I can’t find anywhere else (so Oleron Yellow gets in);
- Grow what I haven’t grown before (this is more difficult because many seeds that I was given last year are F1 hybrids and I would prefer to grow others (however Summerlast; Tsunshigo Chinese; Summerlast; Demidov; and Sweet Aperitif get in);
- Grow a mix of colours and sizes (so I want red, green, yellow/orange, brown/black of cherry, standard & beefsteak);
- Finally try to achieve a mix that suits the freezer. We always get too many (last year 47kg) and so a lot get turned into soup, sauce and just chopped tomatoes. Last year I grew too many cherry tomatoes which aren’t really good for sauces or as chopped tomatoes so this year the (hope) is to reduce the number of cherry tomatoes and grow more “standard sized”. I also grew too many yellow/orange and green varieties which tend to make sauces and soups look insipid (even if they taste OK) so I need to increase the number of black/brown and red tomatoes.
At the same time, the idea is to fill one greenhouse with indeterminate varieties and grow determinate varieties outdoors.
My preliminary list is: Primabella; Sweet Aperitif; Oleron Yellow; Sunbaby; Black Cherry; Brown Berry; Tsunshigo Chinese; Harbinger; Ailsa Craig; Alicante; Pink Bulgarian; St Pierre; Japanese Black Trifele; Black Icicle; Darby Striped; Red Zebra; Mortgage Lifter; Green Giant; Summer Cider; Black Krim; Cherokee Purple; German Gold; Garden Pearl; Summerlast; Demidov; Big League; Balcony Red; Sandpoint.
However, based upon experience I have no doubt that the list will change before I get there.
On a different topic, I’ve decided to grow salad potatoes this year, I usually grow second earlies but I thought I would try something different this year so they are set to chit and I’ve had to buy some more broadbean seeds as most of the plants have been hit by the wet weather and rotted off. I’ve bought The Sutton as a dwarf which hopefully will stand up to the wind and rain. However, they don’t need to be sown for a couple of weeks yet.