I can’t grow tomatoes.
Well, the evidence to the contrary is here in my kitchen. But I can’t grow tomatoes well.
I tend to go in cycles. I sow from seed some years. Germinate way too many little plants, pot them on. Plant them out. I have a forest to place around the potager.
And I wait and wait and wait for a few measly fruit. Around September.
I know what I do wrong – I cram them in. I don’t give them booster feed. The comfry feed is way up at the top potager and I never remember to dip my watering can in and stagger down. Plus I have always too much going on everywhere else in the garden. I neglect.
And then, some years, I go the other way. I buy plants in. Small plants from local markets. Or I even go mad and buy grafted tomatoes from a proper nursery.
This year it’s the grafted tom route. Apart from the exciting ones that Michaela sent me as seeds. They are growing. They are not romping.
I pinch out the side shoots diligently when they are starting out. And then I go away to London for ten days. Come back. And this happens.
Yep. I’m growing tomato trees.
Do side shoots really have to put on two feet of growth in ten days? Or have I just missed the vital pinching out while I was having a little weekend away in the Alps?
Whatever the cause. I have way too much lush growth. So apart from having one pocket with a permanent ball of jute twine and a pen knife, I am trying to limit the damage.
Next post I will show you where I am going to put the extra tomatoes and give them some love. But for now, it’s tomato jungle in just one bed. With a nice under canopy of basil and peppers. Well mulched, but going mad.
27th July 2018 @ 8:27 am
My outdoor tomatoes have struggled this year. It’s been exceptionally hot and dry and I don’t think the top soil/compost mix I filled the raised beds with last year was up to much. A good mulch with some mushroom compost and their looking much happier. Fingers crossed we don’t get the usual warm and humid weather in a month so they all get blight after all the hard work…
27th July 2018 @ 11:33 am
I can’t imagine how distressing blight must be. Warm and humid rarely happens here. Which part of Blighty do you suffer from this dread affliction?
28th July 2018 @ 8:33 am
I’m in North Oxfordshire but I think it’s pretty widespread. The greenhouse tomatoes are ok for longer but you don just have to keep everything crossed for the outdoor ones.
2nd August 2018 @ 4:33 pm
I can’t believe I’m being bold enough to give you some advice… The only thing I know how to grow is tomatoes. In my experience, tomatoes need steady sun, which you have plenty of, but also steady consistent watering, which could be the issue for you, since you go away for long stretches of time.
2nd August 2018 @ 4:37 pm
Ah, my failings dear Sarah cannot be laid at the door of watering. I have an automatic drip hose watering system hidden in all the vegetable beds. You can get a glimpse of the brown hoses in some shots. The irrigation comes on automatically each evening even when I’m away. So I have to find another reason for my failings!!!