Sowing this week

This week was all about tomatoes – one of our favourite crops. As usual, we went a bit mad and sowed 48 pots, 29 of which will be planted out in the polytunnel and the remaining 19 in one of the glasshouses. Early March is a good time to sow; the young plants will be of a good size when it is time to plant them out in early May.

This year we are growing 15 different varieties, some cherry tomatoes, but mostly old medium to large fruited sorts, which are particularly succulent and well flavoured. For cherry tomatoes we have: Sungold F1 – CT’s favourite, which I have not yet been successful in replacing with a non-hybrid, and one of only two hybrids that I grow, the other being sweetcorn; the classic Gardener’s Delight, my favourite of the red cherry tomatoes; and Snowberry, a new variety for us this year, bearing pale creamy yellow fruit.

For the medium sized sorts we have: St Pierre, my favourite general purpose tomato, and the one I would pick if I could only grow one variety; Green Zebra, an interesting variety that is ripe when green, with some yellow striping; Tigerella, a new variety for us this year and one we have been planning to grow for some time, produces red and yellow striped fruits; and Scatolone, a red plum tomato that is supposed to keep well at the end of the season.

For the large fruited sorts we have Brandywine, a particularly large fruited, pink skinned variety from America, and a number of varieties that are new to us this year: Costoluto di Parma, a red skinned, heavily ribbed sort, no doubt similar to the Costoluto Fiorentino we have grown before; the lightly ribbed classic red tomato Marmande; Red Pear, a large pear shaped fruit, pale red with a touch of green, and probably similar to the Pera d’Abruzzo that we have grown before, but this one coming from Lombardy; Rose de Berne, a pink skinned sort of which I have heard good reports and have been meaning to grow for a few years now; Black Crim, a similar looking sort to Black Russian, but this one from the Crimean peninsula; Pantano, an Italian variety with lightly ribbed red fruit and green shoulders; and Merveille des Marchés, an old French sort with medium-large red fruits.

When they are in production, I hope to upload another tomato taste test, as we did a couple of years ago, to report on these new varieties.

Tomatoes placed in the propagator should germinate in one week or so; some of the chilli seeds have germinated already
Tomatoes placed in the propagator at 25 degrees should germinate in one week or so; some of the chilli seeds sown a fortnight ago have germinated already

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