Wednesday, 10 September 2008

A success story of the tomato variety?

Yesterday evening was the first time that there were (just) enough ripe fruit on the tomato plants on my patio to form the exclusive base for a tomato-y dinner. As you can see, I've been growing three varieties, all of which seem to have been pretty happy in pots on my patio. The large ribbed ones are 'Costoluto Florentino', the smaller red ones tumbling toms and the small yellow ones are 'millefleur' centiflor tomatoes. The tumbling toms and the centiflors have already been providing us with ample tomatoes for salads and sandwiches for the last week or so, overall there has been a general reluctance to ripen, hardly surprising given the truly dire weather.

I’m really pleased about this, not only for the simple reason that even self-sufficiency in cheese-and-tomato-sandwich tomatoes is a step along the self-sufficient road, but because these are the self same plants which were showing every sign of blight a couple of weeks ago. In general, things are looking quite good on the blight front right now - one plant was beyond help, and I've had to pick leaves off all the others every now and then, but there's been plenty of new growth and the fruit has hardly been affected at all. The only real problem is that new buds on some plants are showing a tendency to turn brown and drop off, but to be honest I'll be happy enough if the current greenies are the only crop I get, given that at one point I thought I'd get precisely nothing. I’ve been spraying assiduously with my organic blight remedy once a week, and while I can’t know for sure whether it does actually work, something is clearly helping. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it helps for long enough for the rest of the crop to brave the miserable weather and actually start showing some colour.

I’m sure that I’m largely preaching to the converted here, but I can’t help but go on again about what wonderful plants tomatoes are for those with little space. I can heartily recommend the centiflor varieties, which up to now have indeed produced something approaching a hundred flowers and seem to do just fine outside in the wet and cool conditions of this summer. Space-wise, I’m even prouder of my tumbling toms, a variety which are intended for hanging baskets,but which I have arrayed in really rather small pots along the low wall which divides my patio from my next-door neighbour (fortunately, he thinks my rooftop vegetable garden is wonderful, to the point of once offering me a fiver in exchange for the pleasure of looking at the flowers). Despite undoubtedly cramped conditions and an occasional propensity to tumble right off the wall and into the lettuce, they have produced a remarkably heavy crop of quite good-sized small tomatoes (I should probably add that this photo was taken as an afterthought right after all the really ripe ones had been picked).

In case you’re wondering what I actually did with all these goodies, they were roasted at 100 degrees celcius for about an hour and a half with four garlic cloves, a sprinkling of salt and sugar, some oregano and rosemary (the herbs that happened to be to hand) and lashings of olive oil. The garlic was crushed after roasting and the whole lot mixed up with pasta. Serve with a fresh loaf of bread and a mostly-home-grown salad. Yum!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So very pleased you got a crop despite the blight and what a great way to eat them - I love slow roasted tomatoes.

You may be 'preaching to the converted', but I'd never heard of the 'tumbling toms'. Got just the spot for them. So now I'm off to consult google and also to see if I can get them here. Thanks for the info.