it's over a month now since I harvested the last of my tomatoes, but those that were still green have been gradually ripening on the window sill, so i've been busy using them up.
Here's my review of what I liked and what worked well for me in 2010.
last year I grew 5 types of tomatoes, this year I went slightly over the top and grew 10.
My favourite for the year by far was new to me and was suggested at my Sarah Raven vegetable course earlier in the year. - Red Alert was easy to grow (pictured above), and produced medium sized red tomatoes with lots of flesh, - ideal for tomato soups and sauces. - I'd been told that a down side was that it tended to all ripen at the same time, but I had the first ones before I went on holiday in July, and harvested the last 4 green on the 27th September and they are still in the fridge (still looking healthy) ready to be used. The only problem that I found was that very few of the seeds that I germinated as Red Alert, actually turned out to be that variety, - the others were probably Gardeners delight and were a lot smaller,- don't know if it was miss labelling ( by me when sowing) or a dodgy lot of seeds.
Last year, I said that I wasnt' going to grow as many cherry tomatoes, but well when you've got seedlings, it would be murder not to grow them on...- This year I tried Sweet Million, Red Cherry and Gardeners delight.
Sweet Million tasted the best, Gardeners Delight produced the most fruits and they looked the best (and won me the cherry tomato section of the WH Hort Soc autumn show) Red Cherry were smaller cherry looking tomatoes, - nothing wrong with them, just not as outstanding as the others. I also had Ildi my favourite yellow cherry, - great crops this year after last year's disappointment, really prolific plants, to the point where I had to take off excess foliage and that meant that I had plenty for several Tomato and Goats cheese tarts.
Hanging basket types grow in a completely different way, with clusters rather than vines of fruit - I grew 2 of these, Garten Perle (red) and Balconi yellow These are both very easy to grow, - put up with being ignored and gave me a good crop from only 2 plants in each basket.
My outside tomatoes always tend to get blight. This year I tried Black Krim, and Ferline. Black Krim is a large sweet variety that's meant to fruit early in the season, so you avoid the dreaded blight. I grew it in several places this year, and those in the school garden did best, unfortunately I only managed 6 fruits from my plant, and all of those were affected by blight as I tried to ripen them on the windowsill. I did get to taste one of the school fruits and they do taste great, so I will try it again, but in the greenhouse next year. Ferline is meant to be blight resistant, and the plants grew on strongly outside, but by the end of September they were starting to get blackended stems so I harvested the 9 fruits only one of which was fully ripe, then, - but they did colour up on the window sill, and were plenty good enough for cooking.
Ok so the big thing is then - what do I do next year?. I think i'll try more hanging basket plants to get my cherry tomatoes. - Will I grow plants outside?, - well as i've already got 14 packs of seeds ready for next year, - I may well have to. -