Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a Hampshire garden. I've been growing veggies since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Some traditional varieties and old favourites as well as new ideas. I share my garden with my allotment assistant Daisy the Labrador. On Twitter as @MatronsVeggies

Monday, June 08, 2009

My First Tomato

This is one of the pinpoint moments in a gardener's year - the first ripe tomato. This is a Sungold tomato in the greenhouse. The Sub Arctic Plenty are extremely disappointing, I was expecting them to be a clear winner, but no. I will wait a few more days to get really ripe, then will just pop it in my mouth, straight from the plant. Another failure in the garden, were my first sowing of Yard Long Beans. I was particularly anticipating this one in the allotment, and also some beautiful red coloured yard long beans. I think they have rotted in the soil. I planted them more than 3 weeks ago and only 2 have come up. I have therefore planted a second sowing in modules in the greenhouse, fingers crossed.
Other beans in the greenhouse are Royalty, Lazy Housewife and Dog Beans. The latter I am thrilled to have received in a swap with Gintonio from Jardim con Gatos in Portugal. The Lazy Housewife beans I obtained from a heritage company in the USA. They are a very old English variety I saw growing at the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall.
Well, you may remember my confession on February 14th, about my obsession with collecting tomato varieties 'My Affair with the Love Apple' - well it has occured to me that I also have a dirty little secret when it comes to curcurbits! I just can't help but collect squashes, pumpkins and cucumbers. I wish I had the space to grow more, but I don't. They are also such rampant cross pollinators that I dare not save seed. Some of my favourites are:
Yellow Straightneck - from the USA, a yellow courgette-type
Queensland Blue - fantastic Winter keeper with blue skin and a deep orange flesh
Rouge vif D'Etamps - traditional Cinderella pumpkin with vivid dark ginger skin
Black Forest - climbing courgette, excellent climber and good producer.
Defender - courgette, my stalwart which is resistant to the dreaded mosaic virus.
Delicata - a small squash with flesh similar to a sweet potato, another good Winter keeper
You see below my Defender courgette growing in a black plastic dustbin.
I enjoy growing something different and unusual, here is one of my Tomatillos. A relative in the tomato family which is grown in Mexico. Makes fantastic salsa!
Gosh, did we have rain at the weekend? or did we have rain at the weekend?
Claps of thunder on Saturday morning and good solid rain for hours. Just look at my potatoes below. They are stood bold upright now, they just loved it. I am growing Jersey Royal (International Kidney) and Sarpo Mira, a blight resistant late crop.
Now I can sit back and watch everything growing! Unfortunately that means the weeds as well. Sigh!


At 9:09 PM, Anonymous kitsapFG said...

Matron - I grew the "Lazy Housewife" beans about four years ago and they were a pretty good performer for me.

The potatoes definitely enjoyed the rain. I have noticed that a good soaking rain seems to provide a greater amount of growth and vitality than an equivalent amount of manual watering provides. There must be something particularly nourishing about rainwater. Have you noticed this phenomenon too?

At 9:28 PM, Blogger Matron said...

kitsap - I was just thinking the same to myself today! It could be more nitrogen in the water, particularly when it falls in a thunderstorm - something to do with magnetic ions or electricity or something...maybe?

At 9:43 PM, Blogger islandgardener said...

Congrats on your tomato! Thanks for the heads up on the beans; I have some, but hadn't planted yet. I will be vigilant with them, if they end up in the ground this year. I, too, am becoming a squash collector this year. I haven't grown many before -- zucchini and yellow squash sometimes, and one summer, spaghetti squash. How far apart do you recommend planting them from each other to avoid cross-pollination?

At 10:04 PM, Anonymous Chickenlover said...

I too am disappointed with Yard Long beans - last year I planted out plenty (I always start stuff off in the greenhouse if I can, as I can't always get to the allotment to water seeds) but it it was so wet and cold that they didn't do anything. This year, they started off reasonably well, but it was windy and they didn't like being buffeted about, and now it has turned cold, so I am not holding my breathe. But if we get the forecasted hot summer, they may prove me wrong (I hope!)

At 2:55 AM, Blogger Dan said...

Your sungold's looks very tempting. I just started sungold from seed a few days ago. Its really late but I hope they will produce something by July. So my broad beans have been blooming like crazy but no beans came from the lower set of spent blooms. Do they just set beans on the top of the plants?

At 7:02 AM, Blogger Matron said...

island gardener - that depends on how far a bee can fly! To be completely sure it should be about 100yards from the nearest other plant!
Dan - I don't remember problems like that, perhaps you have fewer bees to pollinate?

At 9:13 AM, Blogger Kath said...

So you've got a squash monkey on your back? Dear me!

Congrats on the Sungold - I have green tomatoes aplenty but no ripe ones yet. I wish we had a bit of your rain. Cold but dry here on the East Coast all weekend.

At 1:16 PM, Blogger Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Had quite a shower and thunderstorm here too but on Sunday afternoon just when I was planting up my father's garden. Sigh! But the garden looks much healthier now as everything was dry as a bone before the rain.

For me it's the sugar peas not doing very well this year.

And yes, I've also found that rain is much better for the garden than just manual watering.

BTW just wrote a post on the first garden I visited in Britain on my garden tour not all that long ago. ;-)

At 6:13 PM, Blogger Robert Brenchley said...

My yard long beans started off all right, on the windowsill, then keeped over and damped off as soon as they were in the mini-greenhouse on the allotment. I think they really need to be grown under glass in our climate. Last year nothing grew for me except Cosse Violette; this year I'm hoping Train of Tears bean and Pea Bean will make up for it.

At 4:54 AM, Blogger Sylvana said...

Maybe they should have been called "Not-So-Dependable Seeds".

At 12:33 PM, Blogger Wishful Acres Farm said...

Everything is growing great! I wanted to grow the yard-long beans as well this year but didn't get the seeds. Sorry to hear yours didn't grow. Perhaps the greenhouse planting will do better!

At 5:51 PM, Anonymous Sarah said...

Are you growing the Sub arctic plenty in the green house? Most of the cold weather tomatoes are breed to set fruit at low temperatures.... the green house may be too hot!
Just to put it in perspective I am half way up a mountain in Canada and I put my tomatoes outside 2 weeks ago and they are just getting the tiniest of flower buds. I have a while to wait before I pop any tomatoes in my mouth.

At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Molly said...

I have a love affair with the cucurbits myself. My Rouge vif D'Etamps plants are some of the most vigorous cucurbits I've ever grown. Can't wait to see how they bear. I don't see a packet of Tromboncino seeds in your picture. I shall have to send you some.


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