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Tomatoes 2017

Tomato Artisan Mix
Tomato Artisan Mix

It’s cherries all the way after Green Zebra mutiny

Tomato Rosella
Rosella is making a comeback for this season

Small and perfectly formed are the watchwords for this year’s tomatoes – all cherries and in a host of bright colours, some old, some new.

Last year, I did get a massive crop from Green Zebra but my family hated it – only I liked it – it does have a reputation as a ‘Marmite’ tomato, so I decided to stick with the acid/sugar balance in the cherry tomatoes they will all eat.

They’re also the most expensive in the shops, so it makes economic sense to be self-sufficient in them from late June to November fresh (and over the winter if you use my tomato concentrate recipe).

They are all cordon varieties (upright vines that need support and side-shooting) that need to be grown under glass – my garden isn’t warm enough to grow tomatoes outdoors.

New to me this year are:

  • Rainbow Blend F1 Hybrid*: A mix of four colours of baby plum-shaped fruits – Katiebell (yellow), Lizziebell (orange), Luciebell (red) and Flamingo (pink). Fruit weight 16-20g.
  • Super Sweet 100: Very long trusses of sweet cherry-sized fruit. Reliable, high-yielding and disease resistant (leftover unopened packet free in a gardening magazine last year). Fruit 20-25g.
  • Artisan Mix: Varieties Artisan Blush Tiger (pink blush on golden skin) and Artisan Pink Tiger (pink and gold stripes)  – tapering, 5-6cm long fruits, weighing approximately 18-20g.

Old favourites getting another go:

  • Suncherry Premium F1 Hybrid*: The best tasting, shiny, red cherry tomato – last year was the first time I didn’t grow it to my regret. Weight 13-15g.Rosella: Stunning dark smoky rose flesh and skin with equally good taste – a high sweetness to acid ratio. Long compound trusses with approximately 15g fruits.
  • Rosella: Stunning dark smoky rose flesh and skin with equally good taste – a high sweetness to acid ratio. Long compound trusses with approximately 15g fruits.
  • Sungold F1 Hybrid*: Usually named as the best-tasting yellow tomato, it is splendid (but Orange Paruche is just as good if you want a change). Approximately 13-14g fruits.
Three blue and nine red bulbs
Grow light bulb in a cheap desk lamp – works a treat

The first seedlings are through (Rainbow Blend), the grow light is on to extend daylight hours so the seedlings don’t get leggy (see here how to buy and use one), so watch this space for tomato growing tips and updates.

*F1 hybrids cost a lot more to produce and don’t come true from seed, so they’re much more expensive than other varieties.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.


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