For me, this is always a strange time of the season.

One or two varieties are already producing ripe tomatoes but others – I wish I hadn’t given them room in the pollytunnel. I guess the only way to know how reliable a variety is, is to grow it yourself.

Of course each season is different and this one has its challenges – namely the wet and dull weather!

Wet weather causes fungal diseases and low light levels delay flowering in many varieties.

If it wasn’t for Red Alert, I would still be a week or two away from eating my first ripe tomato. Instead, Red Alert has been producing ripe toms since the middle of June and so far, I’ve picked between sixty and seventy tomatoes from one plant. Tumbler F1 is another variety that will produce the same results.

Oregon Spring is well on the way to ripe fruit, and for a big tom variety, is hard to beat for earliness and dependability.

I guess you could say that these early and dependable varieties are my insurance policy – if the weather is terrible, I will still get an early crop.

Let’s hope that in a week or two, the wet weather will be forgotten and we’ll be experiencing dry, warm and sunny conditions. I may have to find a few tips on how to shade tomato plants from the sun – hopefully!

If you have a water butt and managed to save some of the rain, your tomato plants will love it (see tomato plants and pH) – however, tap water should be stood overnight to allow the chlorine to escape.

Chlorine kills bacteria – the friendly ones too!

8 Responses

  1. jess allaway
    | Reply

    Hi Nick, I am cropping mainly Tumbler, Sungold and Latah. None of of my Red Alert germinated this year for some reason, so I was hoping that Latah would compensate. I have been growing them as semi-bush but they are now up to the greenhouse roof and very sprawling! Their fruit is bigger than Red Alert but much more sparsely spread on the plant. Have only had three or four ripen so far, so much slower than Red Alert. Same for Glacier, only one ripe so far. The Brandy Wine plant which regrew from the roots after my failed grafting exercise has amazingly produced three or four very large flattish shaped toms two of which are beginning to ripen. I have taken most of the flowers above those off, leaving only a second truss with four flowers on. Maybe my chopping its top off gave it a real fright – I certainly didn’t expect it to fruit like this. A friend has sent me some Henderson’s Winsall seeds to try next year, so if anybody wants a few of these to try, just let me know.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Jess,
      It was a good idea to prune and reduce the amount of flowers on the Brandy Wine – it has had the desired effect of quicker growth and ripening.
      Henderson’s Winsall is new to me, so I would be very grateful for three or four seeds to try next season.
      Regards,
      Nick

    • jess allaway
      | Reply

      Hi Nick,
      Would be delighted to send you some Henderson’s Winsall to try next year. Just email the address to send them to.

  2. Bob
    | Reply

    Hi I have two plants of moneymaker they are all nice and red although some having blossom drop, also they dont taste very sweet almost a sour taste but look great they are watered at the same time each day and by the same amount, fed twice a week also they are indoors in a south facing floor to ceiling window with plent of ventilation

    any help appreciated

    • fred
      | Reply

      water well every 3 days,gives the roots chance to get stronger

      • Nick
        | Reply

        Hi Fred, That’s good advice!

    • Rhys Jaggar
      | Reply

      Bob

      I think the lack of sunshine this year is affecting taste of many things. Our raspberries and cherries all ‘ripened’ but tasted very anaemic.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Bob,
      Some varieties are more prone to taste variations when the weather is poor – that is, lack of sunlight – Moneymaker is one of these. Also, some tomato food doesn’t provide all the nutrients that are needed – magnesium enhances taste and a lack of it may have the opposite effect. Over-watering can also reduce the taste of tomatoes.
      If your toms are bitter, I think it likely that all the seeds in the pack could produce the same results as this could be a genetic problem – the seeds parents may have been crossed with another variety by accident a generation or two ago. Between generations F2 to F5 plants can throw up all sorts of inconsistencies both in tomato shape and taste.
      Regards,
      Nick

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.