At the end of each season I try and decide on the varieties to grow again next season and those that aren’t really worth all the effort.
For me, the star performers grown outdoors were Red Alert (bush), Maskotka (bush) and Stupice (tall) – I highly recommend these varieties.
Slow To Mature
I still have some plants that have yet to produce their first ripe fruit. Red Cluster Pear has been very slow to mature – probably because there are so many tomatoes on the plants, they are slowing each other down!
If you grow only one variety or just one type of tomato plant, when a problem arises, it makes it more difficult to find the cause of the problem.
For example, cherry tomatoes do not usually suffer from Blossom End Rot which is caused by calcium deficiency.
If you have tomatoes that have dark marks and look rotten on the inside and all your plants are affected except the cherry varieties, it is highly likely that it is not tomato blight but a calcium deficiency. A lack of calcium can present itself in more ways than just BER and sometimes show a dark layer or ring inside the flesh wall.
Several Problems At The Same Time
Outdoor tomatoes often suffer from several problems at the same time, such as magnesium deficiency, nitrogen deficiency and under developed roots owing to over-watering (by rain or watering can).
This may lead to several different fungal diseases and a lack of nutrients available to plant roots – all at the same time!
When problems are compounded, the poor old plants have to struggle through the rain, put up with soaking wet soil and near starvation, but still do their best to fulfill their destiny, and that is to produce fruit with seeds inside to continue the next generation – it’s tough being a tomato plant!
On a Curious Note …
Some varieties performed strangely this season – I have one Tumbling Tom plant that is producing red tomatoes with yellow stripes! I’ve saved the seeds to see how it performs next season.
The Latah plants have been a constant source of amusement, producing tomatoes of all shapes and sizes. I won’t say where I got the seeds from, but they are definitely unstable. However, I’ve saved the seeds from the biggest and best shaped toms and hope to produce something more consistent over the next season or two.
When two varieties are crossed, Moneymaker and Sungold for example, they would become a Moneygold or a Sunmaker. The seeds from the fruit of the first generation (F1’s) grow as a hybrid, then it takes five or six seasons (generations) for the seeds from those tomatoes to produce consistent fruit – in size and shape etc.
It can be fun growing tomatoes that are unstable because you get all-sorts of weird looking fruit, some of which taste amazing and some taste dodgy!
If you have the patience you can pick the best toms each season, save their seeds and over five seasons or so, develop your own variety.
What would you call a variety that you had created? I think I would call mine “Old Nick” or maybe “In The Nick Of Time”.
Tomatoes Split – Unfortunately
Have you ever wondered why tomatoes split? You probably know the answer, which is, they get too much water and the inside swells and breaks the skin.
But have you ever thought … my tomatoes are growing in containers and grow bags and get much more water every day through regular watering than when it rains – so why do they still split?
If you think you know the answer, please leave a comment below and I’ll send you some tomato seeds for free if your answer is a good one – it doesn’t have to be the right answer! (UK only for free seeds).
The last newsletter for this season will be in two weeks time on the 1st October so if you have any suggestions for next season on how I might improve the website (nice ones please!), have a think and let me know.