After winter the growing season begins again. Of course there are things that can be grown over winter, but from March/April onwards seeds need to be sown in earnest and the hard work begins. I have recently cleaned out the greenhouse and for the first time bought some tomato plants to put in the grow bags.
Why? You might ask. Well, every other year I have grown my own, but I never seem to get fruit until September which means many of them don’t ripen. Unfortunately I have limited space in the house for starting them off early and my greenhouse is not heated. I noticed last week that the local garden centre had some excellent specimens for reasonable prices so this week I decided to spend a total of £7.50 on a selection of 8 plants.
They are far more developed than my seedlings have ever been at this point of the year, some are even starting to develop flower trusses!
Another new method I am trying this year is only planting 2 tomatoes in each grow bag instead of 3. Also I am ‘extending’ the grow bags (so-to-speak) by placing in pots that we have cut the bottoms out of to allow the roots to grow freely and which allows me to add more compost. Finally, for watering I have sunk a smaller pot in the middle of the two plants. I shall see how successful this method turns out to be over the coming months…
This is something that has amazed me since the first time I saw it! Potato plants produce flowers and fruit. The fruit looks just like small green tomatoes! They are not edible though.
The reason for this is that potatoes are related to tomato plants! They are both from the “Solanaceae” family which also includes aubergines and chilli pepper plants.
I have cut the potato haulms down just leaving stalks above the ground. I generally do this every year when blight starts to appear on the allotment site. In my experience it seems to attack the outdoor tomato plants first, which is a good early warning system. It is also the reason I don’t grow tomatoes on my allotment any more! This year I have not seen any signs of blight but it is getting so late on now I thought it best to do anyway.
Leaving a few inches of stalk above the ground works well as a potato marker and the potatoes can be left in the ground like this for a while longer. If you would like to know more about potato blight click here.
I am growing tomatoes in my greenhouse at home rather than on the allotment. In the past I have found tomatoes grown on the allotment succumb to blight before the tomatoes are ripe.
I have had this greenhouse since I was about 10 years old. My parents bought it for me and it lived at their house for many years until arriving in my back garden some 20 years later! I have upgraded it to include a vented window which I found on sale at B&Q for the princely sum of £10, a real bargain!
I am growing several varieties of tomato: Purple Ukraine
, Money Maker and Gardeners Delight.