We are now in September – doesn’t time fly!
The season 2018 has been remarkable for its long period of hot weather and, for most of us, the absence of blight. We didn’t need those blight resistant varieties this season after all!
For those growing under cover, in a greenhouse or polytunnel, a big issue has been keeping the temperature down.
When temperatures rise above 36C, plants stop growing because they use up more energy than they produce. This can cause stress leading to all sorts of issues – from stunted growth to fruit ripening at a smaller size than expected.
For those growing outside, keeping the soil from drying out has been a big challenge – especially if growing in a small container or hanging basket.
Keeping plants watered in long periods of hot, dry weather is best done with a self watering planter – using a reservoir system such as the
Quadgrow and Oasesbox.
If you prefer not to use containers and grow directly in the garden or allotment soil (inside a greenhouse or outside), a soaker hose can be a good option. This can be attached to a tap timer for regular watering while away.
If hot summers are going to be a regular occurrence, growing outside, even in the border soil, is definitely going to be easier! Perhaps worth experimenting with next season.
Each season brings new varieties.
I remember some seasons ago when the choice of varieties was limited. Almost every home-grower in the UK would include either Moneymaker, Alicante or Gardener’s Delight in their selection because there wasn’t much else available, especially as plug plants.
Shirley F1 was the main “show tomato” and Golden Sunrise and Yellow Perfection where the yellow options.
Then one day, Sungold came on the scene which transformed the taste of what we could expect tomatoes to taste like!
Since then, it seems that the market has been flooded with “extra sweet” tomatoes … mainly hybrids and even hybrid grafted tomatoes that are very vigorous and disease resistant.
However, some of us still appreciate the old well-balanced flavour of a variety such as Gardener’s Delight or Alicante. I guess it’s good to have the wider choice these days – as long as we can still grow a traditional tasting tomato!
On that note, it’s time to start thinking about varieties for next season.
I might go retro and choose one or two of the old-timers above, plus an heirloom and one hybrid that I haven’t grown before.
When the time comes, I’ll probably end up with a lot more varieties – but I’m trying to hold back my enthusiasm at the moment! 🙂
If you would like to mention any varieties you would recommend, please do so in the comments below.
I hope you’ve had a great season – the Newsletter will be back next year, all being well.