Thursday 10 June 2021

Bursting with flavour!

You can guess what we've had for lunch. There was some ham as well but it was the tomatoes that added the zing. Bursting with flavour!  it says on the wrapper

The packet shown was bought from M&S this morning. I may have paid over the odds but old Codger wanted flavour - so he parted with £3.00 for 400g having checked that 250g cost £2.00

I won't be buying them much longer, though. My home grown version will soon become available - and, of course, at a fraction of the cost

The move to bite-size cherry tomatoes has been a significant trend in the fresh food market. A lot of work has gone into developing the commercial breeds such as the one in the photo above. The supermarkets (therefore, presumably, the customer) are after a particular blend of sweetness and acidity

The growing enterprise is huge. The fruit grows in trusses on vines that are many metres tall. Completely out of the question for amateur gardeners

The sweet bite-size answer?

Easy! Grow a bush variety - just as we have been suggesting for several weeks now. A year ago the receptionist at our dentist had a couple of plants from me. When we booked recently, she asked for a repeat - so I left a box of tomato plants with them at the practice and collected the few left over a couple of days later

Here are my greenhouse tomatoes planted out. Those
without canes are bush varieties. The yellow flowers
are French marigolds, said to deter greenfly
Got into conversation with the dentist himself - he had treated each of the staff to a plant. When he discovered the way we support BCM he doubled his donation. That must rate as our best visit to the dentist to date

So, please let me know he you would like a bush variety - our favourite is Cerise - but we are running out fast. Two plants go well in a trough and should keep you supplied throughout the fruiting period

Alternative varieties

We also grow a variety called Alicante. This is normally trained as a cordon (see below) but I've now discovered that it can also be grown as a bush. I've also been told that very popular Gardener's Delight will also do well as a bush

Pinching out - scissors mark the spot!
We have both Alicante and Gardener's Delight in stock. Two other varieties may interest you. San Marzano is an Italian plum - I'm trying this for the first time. Also new is Sakura. This has the advantage of being an early fruiter

Growing method

Bush varieties are easy. Plant, water, feed, pick, eat. Cordon varieties, however, require side shoots to be 'pinched out'. Take out the wrong shoots and, disaster: no fruit!

Once learned, pinching out is easy. But so much better to be shown than told - Codger strongly recommends looking at a couple of YouTube videos. Plenty on tap

What a change!

The rain and, now, the sun has certainly made a difference. The plants - both edible and flowering - are growing so quickly that I need to get back out in the garden before too many jobs run away from me. So, please excuse a brief episode today. However, I cannot resist a few flower photos taken during the last few days 

Look out for next week's offering. I've come up with a twist on using a growbag for growing veg where space is at a premium. The photo is a clue ...

... best wishes from the Gardening Codger

Photo tailpiece - we're in the pink this week

Great thing about oriental poppies - they keep coming back!

A rose at dusk - last night

Peony at sunrise this morning (or just after!)

And at midday

A foxglove in a delicate shade of pink

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