Thank you for the many comments of appreciation last week – it’s good to know that the newsletter is still being read and found helpful.

Seed Request
For those who requested Tiger Tumbler seeds from Steve, please send me your address by email [email protected] and I’ll put them in the post (UK only).

Next Season
I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to next season already, with lots of ideas for new tests and growing methods.

Black Cherry has a large calyx and plenty of character in its taste.
Black Cherry has a large calyx and plenty of character in its taste.

Achieving potential

It’s been a very successful season for most tomato growers and the weather has given us the opportunity to get the best results from whatever growing methods we use.

There are many ways to grow tomatoes and some of those ways go against conventional wisdom but still produce excellent results.

I guess that’s what makes tomato growing so interesting – if we had all the answers there would be no happy surprises!

Piccolo, Sungold and Black Cherry ... a colourful trio!
Piccolo, Sungold and Black Cherry … a colourful trio!

Saving seeds and hybrid F1’s
When it comes to saving seeds for next season, it is the practice to save seeds from varieties that will grow “true to type” – the open pollinated varieties such as Alicante, Ailsa Craig and Gardener’s Delight.

Seeds that are taken from F1 hybrids won’t grow “true to type” (the same as last season) because as an F2 (second generation) they become unstable and produce all sorts of irregular shapes, variations in colour and taste …. or do they? and if they do, does it matter?

I would like to suggest a test for next season
Take a few seeds from an F1 tomato variety (which will now be F2 seeds), sow them next season and also the original F1 seeds and compare the results.

I’m going to test Sungold F1 and Golden Cherry F1 next season. I’ve saved the seeds from their tomatoes and will sow them as F2’s next season along with the F1’s to see just how much difference there really is.

We all know that F1 seed is expensive, so is it worth buying new F1 seed each season when we can save as many F2 seeds as we like from your own tomatoes? … we’ll see.

Cuttings from F1’s
An interesting point is – if you are able to over-winter cuttings taken from F1’s, they will grow exactly the same as their parent plant the next season. This avoids the issue of F2 F3 etc. (if there is an issue?!).

Using a propagator to ripen tomatoes
When you have a lot of unripe tomatoes, a bowl just isn’t big enough, so put them in a propagator with the lid on to contain the ethylene.

Add a ripe banana and close the lid!
Add a ripe banana and close the lid!

Lower Temperatures can split ripe skins

It isn’t just over watering and the autumn rain that causes skins to split but also temperature changes. As the temperature drops skins contract and split.

It’s a good idea to reduce watering, not only to help encourage the toms to ripen, but also to reduce the internal pressure in a plant’s system. This will give a slight buffer zone – balloons that are filled to their maximum pressure are more likely to pop!

Next season the newsletter will be slightly different…
I won’t be sending out a link each Saturday, but the newsletter area can still be accessed from the home page of the Tomato Growing website using the password Sungold.

There will be lots happening in the members area – more about that next week.

It looks like many of us in the UK will have a few days of warmer weather starting today. That should help ripen our tomatoes and allow us to do a few jobs around the garden.

Have a good weekend!