Friday, 17 July 2009

My tomatoes torment me -or- Gardening At Height

I can see them there, outside the bedroom window, ALL THE TIME. I can see the fruit on plants. Green. Not going red, despite my checking on them hourly when I'm home. Dammit. And I don't actually see any more growing, though everytime I go out there to take off the side shoots and feed them, there ARE millions more buried under the leaves. And tomato side shoots can grow 6 inches in a week. WHY not the tomatoes that I can see from the window? It's torture.

I'm growing four sorts. The ones in the first picture are 'Gardener's Delight', available nearly everywhere. When I bought mine they came with a free packet of Marigold seeds. These are those 'companion planting' things that people talk about - something about the tomato pests being kept away by the marigolds, or something about the proximity of the Marigolds encouraging growth in the tomatoes. I have no objection to flowers and the possibility that either of the above is true, so I put them in too. I haven't actually grown tomatoes all the way through by myself before - usually I've had to move house in the middle and leave my half-grown plants with someone - so I don't know if it's made a significant difference to pests or not. I also haven't grown them on a roof away from other plants that might pass the pests over before, so I can't really tell. I've only got one plant of this sort - I gave quite a lot away (can YOU find a way of growing on 18 tomato seedlings), but only one seedling seemed strong enough to warrant planting out. It's a nice plant with the biggest tomatoes on it at present. I reserve judgement on whether I grow it again when I see how it tastes and what the final yield is...

Then there are are the San Marzano and the Striped Tomato. I didn't take pictures of those in my two minutes on the roof this morning in the rain, but they're weird and wonderful shapes already. (It's been gorgeous, for ages. I pick the day to take photos that the sky appears to be trying to wash out the ground...) Another time.

I'm not actually sure of the seeds for the little cherry tomatoes I'm growing - I suspect they might be these ones or something similar. I planted them on a course I did at the Eden Project in March, along with some basil (growing nicely thank you) and some liquorice - one single seedling of which is creeping larger and looking forlorn on a windowsill. It's the cherries that are the biggest plants with the most fruit on them, to the extent that I'm not even worried I broke off a truss by accident last time I was pruning. There are masses*.

Also on the roof are a selection of chilli plants, some of which are getting on for three years old and still producing tiny, firey chillies, some peppers that are still seedlings, really (they're the ones in the champagne box!), some of the basil and the tomatillo plants. And my pride and joy - the one solitary little aubergine plant that's made it through.**

I like the roof. It's an effective place to garden. We water by throwing the hose up there and then climbing out of the window. It gets lots of sun, and it's reasonably sheltered. Except from one direction.

I also share my house with a triffid. This I didn't plant but definitely intend to harvest. I hack it down on a weekly basis but it's trying to take over the world. LOOK at the fruit. Hope it ripens. It's been planted with some thought, the roots outside and the fruiting branches in - vines like cold roots and warm branches.

It means our passage doesn't get too hot most of the time, and the rodent residents of that room don't roast. They're quite keen on vine leaves, which is a good thing because otherwise it would try and eat their cage.

*Provided the ENORMOUS thunderstorm we've been having all morning hasn't knocked them all over. Arg...
**Storm getting worse. Please thunder, don't kill my aubergine. It hasn't had a chance yet!

1 comment:

  1. Count yourself lucky, we're growing tomaatoes in our back garden and they're struggling to produce fruit at all, let alone ripe fruit...

    I think the rains may have been too much for them :(