Monday, 7 April 2008

The Great Tomato Project 2008

It was a pretty rotten weekend weather wise so absolutely nothing got done on the plot. However, a little vegetable growing side project of mine meant that there is something to blog about after the weekend.


As if taking on a new allotment and filling it with veg wasn't enough work I've decided to have a bit of an experiment since we've got so much space. I've always known there was more to tomatoes than the bog standard red ones you get in the super markets but I'd never experienced any so I've come up with a tomato master plan...

I'm going to use one side of the plot (the back probably) and grow a load of different tomato plants along it using the handy chicken wire fence for support. I'm going to grow a few more normal varieties (the Sungella, Sub Arctic and Suncherry I’ve already started off) but the rest are going to be of the more weird and wonderful variety. Then, with any luck, come the summer I'll be able to collect the seeds of the ones that perform the best and use them again next year.

Thanks to the wonders of eBay I found a friendly supplier (O.V. Gillies) who supplies a wide selection of weird and wonderful tomato seeds in small quantities (three or four seeds per variety) perfect for what I want to do so I ordered a set each of her Heirloom and Cherry Surprise mix. Less than 48 hours later a lovely collection of seed packets fell through my letter box (see pic at top of post) all packaged and labelled with love and care along with an info sheet about tomato growing and even a few extra freebies in the shape of some Purple Mist sweet peppers, Diamond aubergines, a herb called Borage that I'd not heard of before and some flower seeds (Dianthus Chinensis/China Pinks).

With interesting sounding varieties like Cosmonaut Volkov, Black Prince, De-Barro black, Rouge d'Iraq, Banana Legs, Green Zebra and Red Zebra it's suddenly become the most exciting part of the growing year for me. I just hope I can manage to grow them...

13 comments:

Lucy @ Smallest Smallholding said...

We grew san marzanos last year - the ultimate italian sauce tomato (although powdery and pretty crap for eating raw). This year I just chucked some seeds in from a freebie packet on a magazine - they're going really well!

One tip about the borage - be very careful as it can be pretty prolific, and once you've got it it's notoriously hard to get rid of it! We had lots of borage growing in the borders last year, beautiful little blue flowers and great for the bees. Haven't used it in cooking yet but will give it a try this year.

Good luck with your tomato venture! Lucy

Sarah said...

Good timing! I sowed our tomato seeds at the weekend too! You've got a lovely blog by the way - do you mind if I add a link on our blog www.ourpatchofearth.blogspot.com?

Sarah :)

Amy said...

Cool, that sounds very exciting! I am trying tomatoes for the first time this year but I just giving them a tentative try with red cherry tomatoes. Good luck with your more adventurous attempt :)

Marc said...

That sounds great! I'm glad to see that your assortment has many different colored heirlooms - orange, pink, black, white. I think you will love growing some of these. I started out in the crazy heirloom tomato world as an experiment like you and now I grow more of them than the normal red tomatoes. In addition to my normal hybrids, this year I am growing over 20 varieties of heirloom tomatoes!

I'm pretty excited about it. I think you will like them too. Good luck!

Kat said...

Cant wait to see how you guys get on, I've been thinking of expanding our range of tomatoes too by cant decide which to try!

Borage is great stuff, like Lucy say's it's VERY prolific, but the bees go mad for it and butterflies too. You can put the flowers in salads, I like to freeze them into ice cubes then put in drinks, that always impresses people!

Good luck!

Kat

Paul and Melanie said...

Thanks everyone, hope we have soon have lots of seedlings to show you.

@ Lucy and Kat : Ta for the tips about Borage, I heard it was supposed to be good planted near tomatoes as it improved the taste somehow which is cool. Will it grow in pots do you think, that should keep it contained...

@ Sarah : Welcome, and thanks for saying such nice things. Feel free to link away, I'll add one for you too... :)

@ Marc : Wow, your list looks impressive, and I thought I was growing a lot! I'll be sure to keep an eye on how you do... :)

RobD said...

If you want another supplier for tomato seeds try Real Seeds - www.realseeds.co.uk - they have a great range

dND said...

nothing about tomatoes but I've just seen your comment on Veg Plotting and I'm wondering if I met you on Casualty. Did you work at the nightclub in Gloucester?

Deborah

Paul and Melanie said...

Hey Deborah,
nope, never worked at a club I'm afraid. When did you do Casualty? I did quite a lot about 4 years ago I guess...

dND said...

Hi Paul,

I've been out here for a year so it would have been the 3 years before that. I was with South West and was the older Redhead/strawberry blonde lady doing the crochet in the corner by the chocolate machine :-D

I miss my days as an extra, it was always good company and the food... even if you did have to pay for it at the beeb. Ah happy days!

Paul and Melanie said...

Ahh I was with Pheonix, not done it for a while as I changed job and getting days of at short notice became a tad difficult.

You're right tho, was fun while it lasted, I even got a line once, and the food was always lovely! :)

Mike said...

What a great project - god luck with it - it's things like that that make life on the lottie really interesting. I had a terrible year for tomatoes last year due to gales just after I planted them out so am hoping for better things this year. a great link to the tomatosupplier by the way - thanks:)

Borage is great as log as you don't mind pulling it out n a regular basis! Have you sorted any comfrey for liquid feed? It is brilliant...

Veg Heaven said...

Hi, I've grown Green Zebra for many years - you can save your own seed too, with heirloom varieties. G Z are a bit later than most but are the most fantastic cooking tom. (Nice in salad too but nothing beats them grilled!)