Monday, 4 October 2010

Tomatoes - a summary

The tomato season has almost drawn to a close here, now blight has killed off all my plants but two, and those left are struggling to ripen fruit in the worsening weather. But having enjoyed the most successful tomato crop ever, and since I never told you the results of my seedsaving experiment, I thought I'd give a quick rundown of the varieties I grew.

From left to right we have 'Hundreds and Thousands' (self-sown), 'Red Cherry', 'Gardener's Delight', 'Angelle' (seeds saved), 'Moneymaker' and 'Sub-Arctic Plenty'.

The 'Hundreds and Thousands' have a slight tendency to be thick-skinned, but are so deliciously sweet, so productive and so easy to grow that I will certainly grow some more next year, if I can get them to self sow again.

The 'Red Cherry' have always been the quickest plants to grow for me, but having finally had a decent sample of the fruit this year, I don't think I'll bother with them again. The skins are very thick and they're not as tasty as some others.

The 'Gardener's Delight' again suffered from thick skins. Maybe it's my soil or something - does anyone else have this problem? They are delicious and have a touch more acid than any other variety I've grown, and so are good for salads or sandwiches where you don't want too much sweetness.

The 'Angelle' (also pictured below) are from the seeds I saved from a supermarket tomato. They have come pretty true to type and are absolutely delicious, not to mention incredibly easy to grow, with few leaves, and the last ones to go down with blight! The crop wasn't huge, but I could easily grow more plants in a small space since the foliage is so sparse. I will certainly be sowing the rest of my saved seeds next year!

'Moneymaker' were very pleasing, with thick flesh and a delicious flavour, and pretty productive, although they were the first to get the dreaded blight and I ended up putting most of the fruit - still green - in chutney. I'd like to give them another try, but if they are susceptible by nature to blight maybe it's not worth it outdoors...

'Sub-Arctic Plenty' were the biggest surprise. The plant always looked rather sickly but the fruits were huge - up to 100g each - and soooo tasty! They did not live up to their '45 days from seed to harvest' claim - far from it - but they're definitely another variety I will grow again next year.

Do you grow tomatoes outdoors? I'd love to hear what varieties work well for you.


Carole said...

I think thick skin is typical of outdoor tomatoes - they have to be tougher than the indoor varieties. But I think the flavour is better.

Green Lane Allotments said...

Apparently thick skins can be related to variety or weather conditions.

Dry or very hot summers tend to produce thick skinned tomatoes although this summer was hardly hot and dry was it? - except for May and June. I suppose overall it has been dry (according to my husband's weather records it has been drier than we may imagine as most of the rain has had little effect on the ground). Thick skins are tomatoes efforts at conserving moisture. So thick skins can also be the outcome of incisistent moisture levels.

I've wondered about growing hundreds and thousands myself so may give it a go.

Amy said...

I'm impressed that the Angelle turned out so well, I might have to try a bit more seed saving in the future. I think thick skins are certainly weather dependant, some years are much worse than others.

My favourite outdoor variety is 'Sungold' it ripens faster than a red tomato and tastes so much sweeter. I didn't grow it this year because the F1 seed is so expensive but I have really missed it so it's back on my list for next year.

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