I love to read the descriptions of tomato varieties in the seed catalogues and brochures. The term “as old as the hills” is sometimes used to describe Moneymaker (left).
About twenty or thirty years ago, if you mentioned growing your own tomatoes, Moneymaker would probably be the first, or one of the first varieties on most gardeners lips. These days, there are so many varieties around that Moneymaker has lost its popularity, now having to compete with hanging basket tomatoes and the like.
Other well known varieties that have been around for some time include Gardener’s Delight, Alicante, Ailsa Craig and Shirley F1, the last of these being particularly suitable for greenhouse growing.
The reason I mention these varieties is because next season I plan to get back to my roots as it were – to the varieties I used to grow before I got led astray by all the fancy promises that the modern varieties would give me. Such as the best taste and biggest yields ever – even in a poor summer!
This summer has been the worse season for growing tomatoes that many gardeners have experienced. It is at times like these that the old traditional varieties may get a chance to show again what they can do next season, as home tomato growers reflect on the old dependable toms they once grew with great success, almost every season.
However, I think that most varieties will have under-performed because conditions for growing tomatoes have been very poor in most areas of the UK
Diseases can be prevented but it is very difficult to grow tomatoes without enough sunlight. May June and July provided the least amount of sunlight that I have ever experienced and that was the main reason why (for me) growing tomatoes has been such a challenge.
Looking on the brighter side…
- Blossom End Rot is no longer an issue – just spray with calcium.
- Blight can be controlled by growing under cover, spraying if necessary and/or choosing blight tolerant varieties.
All we need is a bit more sunshine next year for an excellent season!