Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Late September Tomato report

My tomato crop this year has been very good - the best for many years. Of course this is mainly due to the absence of blight, which normally takes a significant toll, but the hot Summer must also have played its part. Over the last few weeks there has hardly been a meal eaten in our household that has not featured tomatoes in some shape or form!


Those "Maskotka" tomatoes are amazingly prolific. Whenever I think they must be just about finished they produce another flush of fruit, which seems well-nigh miraculous considering the tatty state of the plants.

Tomato (and cucumber) plants looking very tatty now!

I pick their fruit very under-ripe, and ripen them fully indoors. This is because the plants are very floppy and the fruit often touches the ground, tempting the slugs to pinch them. The slugs go for the ripest fruit, so I get in there before them.

Slug-damaged tomatoes

Here's a little tip if you are also suffering slug damage to your tomatoes: if they nibble some fruit, don't remove them. Leave them there, because the slugs will keep on nibbling the same fruit(s). If you remove the nibbled ones the slugs simply start nibbling another one.

At the other end of the scale from "Maskotka", in terms of size, are my "Ferline" ones, some of which are huge.

"Ferline" - plant keeling over under the weight of fruit

"Ferline" is a slow grower, but it's worth the wait. The longer growing time gives them time to develop a very fine flavour. The fruit of this type is very good for cooking with. These four beauties weighed-in at a total of 786 grams.


Another really prolific tomato is "Sungold", which produces huge trusses of tiny golden-yellow fruits:


This year I have only one "Sungold" plant, but it seems intent on out-doing all the other types. Although I did pinch out its growing tip weeks ago, its side-shoots decided to "reach for the skies" and the plant is now so tall that I cannot reach its top:

"Sungold" is the middle one of these 3 plants

Right up at the top, new flowers and little fruits are appearing.

I rather fear they might have left it too late!

Elsewhere, my two "Cherokee Purple" plants are about to deliver some more ripe fruit. There is a definite tinge of colour in these:

"Cherokee Purple"
These will be especially welcome, since I think this type is probably the best of all the ones I have in terms of visual appeal.


  1. It's been a great year for tomatoes here too. I've had a go at San Marzano again this year, but they're so slow to ripen, I've only had a few off the plant so far, but the ones which are just ripening now are huge. I don't think I'm going to bother with them next year, if blight's around they'll never make it leaving it so late to turn red. My Totem plants are looking like your Maskotka, very straggly and on their last legs, but yet the fruit still keeps coming.

  2. Cherokee Purple is one of our favourites too. I had great luck with Arctic Plenty which I grew because it is an early cropper and I was afraid of another year of blight. I will grow again next year! Good crop Mark.

  3. The slug tip is true of other things too especially strawberries.

    Our tomato year has been really mixed. I'll post about it later but generally it's been some good and some bad and very slow ripening.

  4. The warmth of the house is a perfect place for late season tomatoes. You just might harvest well into November - fingers crossed (smile).

  5. I always grow Ferline as well, because it has some blight resistance, and also Sungold because it's so reliable and prolific. I tried Arctic Plenty this year, but I don't think it liked my poor soil at home. Cherokee Purple looks wonderful, I think I might give that a try next year.


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