Barlow Nurseries

Growers of trees, shrubs and hardy herbaceous perennial garden plants near Newport, Shropshire



Ta-ta tommies

You can tell it’s autumn when a crate of partly ripened tomatoes appears in the kitchen….

Its been another funny year for tomatoes – most people who tried to grow them outdoors saw their plants devoured by blight (again) and even those of us who had them undercover had to contend with low temperatures and poor light levels, which conspired to reduce and delay the crop.    But then autumn seemed to go on and on and we’ve been picking right up until today, so although the plants were slow to get going, they’ve kept going for ages.

We grow our tomatoes in an unheated, and very well ventilated polytunnel, so conditions are only marginally warmer than outside;  we don’t close the tunnel at night (because the other plants in the tunnel need the ventilation) so they’re grown pretty hard.

We grew 5 varieties this year :

  • Gardener’s delight – an old stalwart, probably still the tastiest, easiest and most productive variety
  • Sungold – an orange cherry, earliest to crop this year, very tasty, but not very prolific
  • Sun Belle – a yellow cherry plum, very sweet, not very robust plants, but a novel colour and shape
  • Roma – an italian plum;  slow and not very productive.   Almost tasteless raw, but very flavoursome cooked
  • Tumbling Tom – a hanging basket type, we grew them in 10 lt pots.   Prolific, very sweet, but tiny fruits

But now, they’re all over for another year.   Night time temperatures are looking distinctly autumnal at last, and although we’ve only had very light ground frosts so far, the tommies were undoubtedly living on borrowed time.

So the remaining fruits have been picked, and brought into the house where they’ll ripen over the next few weeks.   Any that aren’t eaten fresh will make soup, or sauce which can be frozen and used on pizzas, or as an ersatz puree.

We’ll fill the space in the tunnel with nursery stock (which is what it’s there for of course) and hopefully find enough space to squeeze in a few winter salad leaves.  And then start browsing the seed catalogues for next years tomatoes.

One Response to “Ta-ta tommies”

  1. Cat Davidson Says:

    Enjoyed reading your blog and looking at your website – we have not been to visit you yet on one of our busmans holidays around the gardens of the UK, but if we are ever passing I would love to drop by.
    All the best over the winter, Cat

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