I received two tomato plants from my son, who is a keen gardener, and potted them into two large pots that I bought from a discount store – a lot cheaper than the garden center!
I was amazed at how quickly the plants grew and when the flowers died away and the small tomatoes began to grow I became fascinated with the whole process.
The two varieties were “Latah” and “Red Cluster Pear” but what I didn’t realise at the the time was that Latah is an early variety and Red Cluster Pear is a later variety with good keeping qualities.
This meant that I was picking tomatoes from the early variety in July and they lasted until the the later ones began to ripen, taking me through to November. I was also able to continue to pick Red Cluster Pear when the weather turned cold in October and bring them indoors to ripen. After they had ripened, they stayed firm for ages which meant I was eating them until the end of November!
It was great to have my own home-grown tomatoes in the kitchen for about five months last year.
I am now hooked on growing tomatoes and I shall be growing them again this season!
Nick’s Note: To lengthen the picking season, grow early and late varieties (or sow early varieties later in the season) so that you have a crop for the longest possible time. When one bush plant has finished bearing fruit, another will be producing ripe tomatoes.
There are one or two “long shelf life” varieties available – “long keeper” being one of them and also Red Cluster Pear.
These tomatoes may not always have the best taste, but I’d much rather be eating these in November/December than some sad supermarket specimen!
If you have a tomato growing experience or story you would like to share, please email me here. I’ll send you some free seeds!