Let There Be Light
My biggest take-away from this season is to try and maximize light on my plants. Light is of course essential for growth and it triggers flowering and fruit set.
I was amazed to find that the tomatoes that matured earliest in the season were smaller than usual and had under-developed seeds in them! It shows that light levels play a major role in many aspects of growth.
Next season I’ll make as many reflective surfaces as I can – from white card behind the seedlings, to white plastic sheeting inside the pollytunnel, on the floor and sides.
Seedlings and Light
Seedlings require a lot of light to prevent them from becoming leggy. Not in intensity, but in hours. The optimum amount of hours for lighting seedlings is eighteen hours – that’s a lot of light!
If you don’t live in an area near the equator, it is a good idea to choose varieties that don’t become leggy. Tumbling Tom is a great variety for developing a stocky habit, and Black Cherry also tends to keep from shooting up like a rocket on a cloudy day!
Of course, the later in the season you sow, the more light there is, but also the greater chance of ending the season with green tomatoes.
As with all tomato growing, if conditions are favourable it’s reasonably easy to grow a great crop of tomatoes. However, if conditions are challenging as they have been this season, we need to “pull out all the stops” and draw on the experience that we have gained from previous seasons.
Fried Green Tomatoes
If you are wondering what to do with green tomatoes – unripe ones that is – apart from green tomato chutney they also can be sliced and fried, grilled or even microwaved.
Here’s a recipe from a region where green tomatoes are very popular fried (the American South). You would think that if they have all that lovely weather, how is it they eat their tomatoes before they ripen? Fried green tomatoes must taste good!
Seeds for Next Season
If you are thinking about selecting seed varieties for next season , here’s a link to a very good selection at Plants of Distinction where you can order a brochure for browsing over the winter period.
List of varieties:
Order a catalogue:
I buy a lot of my seeds from this company and they are reliable.
As usual, if you have any comments, it would be great to hear from you.