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15 messages
10/02/2014 at 16:07

Lidl are currently stocking a load of flower and fruit/veg seeds.

 

They have a few cherry varieties, but their normal sized ones are Moneymaker, Marmande and Harzfeuer.

I only grew tomatoes once before, and that was by accident, so can anyone tell me what the differences between these are in terms of how well they'll grow in London, and taste?

I'll eat them mainly cooked (fried, pizzas, pasta sauces and possibly soup if I have space to grow enough) but also in summer salads.

I thought of taking a supermarket tomato I like the taste of, scooping out the seeds and trying to grow that, but most of them seem to be grown in Spain, so I'm not sure if they'll grow well here. The 'normal' and baby plum tomatoes that grew by accident last year (from scraps thrown into a compost bin) certainly weren't as juicy, nice-tasting or developed as whatever supermarket fruits they grew from.

 Also, is now the right time to be planting seeds?

10/02/2014 at 16:39

Moneymaker is an easy to grow, normal size tomato around 100g each. Marmande is a beef steak variety, up to 400g each, but a lot less on the vine. I have not come aross harzfeur before. Have you got a greenhouse or are they going outside?

10/02/2014 at 18:00

Sungold are a really good variety for salad/fresh use ....easy to grow inside or out.  The larger plum types such as Roma are good for sauces and freezing.  As a medium size for fresh or cooking, Black Cherry are a good bet........slightly later than sungold but a good flavour.  All can be indoor or out and if you are in London, you have the advantage of more warmth - like anything, all depends on how you plan to grow them.

Growing toms from bought fruit is probably a bit of a waste of time and effort - you rarely know what stock you are buying these days from the shops.

Given that tomatoes are usually a rewarding crop, it is best to buy reputable seed varieties or plants. For the cost of the seed, you will  (or should ) get a worthwhile harvest.

 

 

 

 

 

11/02/2014 at 10:41

Thanks for the replies,

These will be grown outdoors. I don't have the room for a greenhouse, although I'm thinking about buying one of those £2 'indoor greenhouses' from Aldi, which is basically just a tray of 3" plastic pots with a 3" tall clear plastic lid.

Cats and foxes do run around the small amount of soil I have (and occasionally any plant pots), so I thought I might grow the seeds in a tray and then transplant them to soil or a large planter when they're big enough for the cats to avoid trampling. If I grow the seeds indoors in the warmth, and then transplant to cold wet soil, will this be a bit of a shock to the shoots?

I take it the light from tungsten, fluorescent tubes and CFL energy-saving bulbs doesn't help plants grow?

11/02/2014 at 10:52

Supermarket toms, with very very very rare exceptions, are hybrid varieties. Saved seed from hybrid varieties won't grow true to type - that is, you won't get the same fruit again. In simple terms, the hybridised gene pool starts to unravel through successive generations. Ditto, obviously, hybridised seeds growing in the compost heap. You're better off starting from scratch with a variety known to be both tasty and productive.

11/02/2014 at 10:57

Tomsk, the lights you mention will help tom seedlings develop providing they're sufficiently close to the seedlings. They provide light and warmth. I sometimes use a couple of desk lamps to raise my seedlings immediately after they've germinated. The lights have to be no more than a couple of inches above the seedlings, raising the lights as the seedlings grow.

 

11/02/2014 at 13:56
Italophile wrote (see)

 In simple terms, the hybridised gene pool starts to unravel through successive generations.

 

I think you may have over simplified there. Yeah, you won't get the same thing because it's like mixing a jar red smarties and an equal number of blue smarties when talking about F1 Hybrids. Each subsequent generation will be a shuffle of the same jar of smarties if they are self pollinated, but you're mixing the same jar time and time again, if they're self pollinated. If they're then cross pollinate then you're then going to get new genes/chromosomes introduced and some lost but that is the case with any plant unless the plant is apomictic such as with Bramble or partially apomictic such as Oranges. There's no 'unravelling' other than during cell division, which is happening right now in all of us. Since Tomatoes are self polinated though you're pretty much going to get the same tomato time after time, at least for the home gadener.

15/02/2014 at 13:16

I've been searching about how far apart tomato plants should be, and it seems 2 feet is a common figure, though a small number of people seem to be happy with just 1 foot.

I don't have much soil, and bought a fair few pots to get some plants where all the concrete is (and that's where I'll grow tomatoes). So would a standard builders bucket be large enough to grow one Moneymaker or Marmande plant? They're about 1 foot in diameter and 10" deep.

Ultimately, I want to build a planter box for them, but I don't know if I'll get that done in time for this year's plants, so I thought maybe buckets would work, and if I do ge the planter built by the summer, I might be able to carefully transplant them from the buckets. If not, I'll just tip the soil from the buckets into the planter next year.

If I build a planter where I'll only be leaning over it to pick tomatoes from a small number of vines rather than having to walk between lots of vines in a field, how far apart can I get away with planting them? And is it a good idea to mix varieties in the same planter?

And on the subject of planters, is it a good idea to line a planter with something like this? I wouldn't want to use preserved timber that comes into contact with the soil, and putting soil directly into an untreated wooden planter may make it rot quicker?

15/02/2014 at 14:09

Builders buckets are fine - I use those myself and also smaller 10" pots.  Do remember to drill a few holes in the bottom of the buckets though!

PS, I line the inside of all of my wooden planters with woven plastic ground control fabric which lets the soil breath and drain but prevents the soil from actually touching the wood.  Seems to help.

16/02/2014 at 12:32

I forgot about having to drill holes in the buckets, so perhaps I'll save them and just wait until I have a proper planter.

If I made a large oblong planter for various tomato varieties, in good soil with fertiliser, what about growing plants around the edge for decoration? Small flowers like pansies could hang down over the planter and not interfere with the light or air getting to the tomatoes. Would there be any problem with them being so close or with their roots mixing?

I've read that some plants really don't like being next to others.

09/05/2014 at 10:41

Jim Macd, very good explanation.

09/05/2014 at 12:38
Builders buckets are often cheaper than plant pots, you can pick them up for ??1, so you may as well go with them instead of shelling out more money on a planter. However if you go with the latter there is no problem with growing flowers amongst your tomatoes. I grow marigolds with mine (and they are in large pots).
Cherry tomatoes will give you better flavour than the larger varieties and the one Philippa Smith 2 mentioned (sungold) is the best of the lot......grows well outside too. I usually grow three different varieties for a longer cropping season and varied flavours/colours.
09/05/2014 at 12:49

Black cherry are fantastic, by far the most tasty of those i grew last year (Black cherrry, Tigarella, gardeners delight).

This year i'm growing 3 again but replaced the tigarella with san marazano plum toms.

although the tigarella looked nice, they just didn't have the intense flavour of the cherry types.

 

09/05/2014 at 14:21
I've been growing chocolate cherry which has a fantastic taste and looks great on the plate.
09/05/2014 at 17:07

Moneymaker has a clue in the name - it's bred to give a big yield but isn't great for flavour. Marmande is French and might not do as well in the UK as it would in France. Never heard of Harzfeuer.

You can grow from seeds taken from a tomato, but it's useful to know what it is, whether it's an F1 hybrid (which won't breed true), whether it will do well outdoors, and whether it's an upright (indeterminate) or bush type (determinate). Without this information you could waste a lot of time, effort, compost, feed, etc on the wrong sort of plant or grwoing it the wrong way.

For outdoor tomatoes, I have found Sungold superb for flavour - it's an F1 so the seeds are expensive, but most people only want a few plants. I'm also growing Maskotka, a bush-type that's easy to look after.

 

 

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