|On to the tomatoes. It takes a looong time to pot up this many seedlings. The ones on the left in the yoghurt pots are Brandywine; the ones on the right are Gardener’s Delight. Large yoghurt pots make excellent pots for seedlings – just create some holes in the bottom first (I use one end of a skewer, held in a gas flame, to melt the holes – the plastic is less likely to crack that way.)|
I am in two minds about whether to save some Brandywine seeds, as I did last year. I didn’t take care to separate the varieties of container tomatoes so there may have been some cross pollination, which could turn out to have interesting results next year! Think I’ll order some pure-bred seeds on eBay but maybe try growing some saved seeds as an experiment.
The picture immediately below shows this year’s tomato seedlings as they were on April 8th, one week ago. The picture at the bottom shows them yesterday, after I’d spent a large part of the afternoon potting on the Brandywines. All the Brandywine seeds I saved came up, and there were over forty of them. I only threw a few of them away – as there’s no way I will have the room in the garden to grow forty Brandywine tomato plants (to say nothing of the three other varieties I’ve planted), I will have to find some willing recipients among the neighbours. First in line is the guy from round the corner who gave me an envelope filled with sunflower seeds a couple of weeks back. One good turn deserves another! They’re the sort of sunflowers that grow to enormous heights, and they will cheer up the front garden no end. I have planted half a dozen of the seeds in little pots in our mini greenhouse. Not the conventional way of doing it, but I know that if I put them straight in the ground the birds will have them in no time.
The planks of wood you can see outside in the second picture are the remains of our barrel, after which this blog is named. Sadly the wood finally rotted so much that it started to crumble away, and the barrel was a bit of an eyesore. Its place may at some point be taken over by our dustbin, which is no longer needed for storing rubbish since Thanet Council so generously gave us a wheelie bin. Don’t think I’ll be changing the name of the blog though… somehow “Beans in a Dustbin” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
|This is the very first of my brandywine tomatoes, picked exactly a week ago and eaten with mozzarella and fresh basil, lightly drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. It was lovely – the taste wasn’t intense (but then again you don’t expect it with tomatoes of this size/type), but it was very pleasant and the texture of the flesh was lovely and velvety. In other words, not at all like the beefsteak tomatoes you often get in the shops. As well as being an out-there shape, this specimen was an out-there size, too – about five inches across the bottom! It will be a while before any of its fellows are ripe enough to pick so int the meantime we’ll have to content ourselves with the Gardener’s Pearls and Gardener’s Delights, which are coming in a steady stream at the moment!|
Here’s a tip for all you tomato growers out there: when you harden off your tomato plants, don’t put them in bright sunlight – at least, not for the first few days anyway. The poor things get sunburn (or leaf burn if you want to use the technical term)! This is particularly true of my Brandywine tomatoes; the other two varieties I’m growing (Gardener’s Delight and Gardener’s Pearl) don’t seem to be as bothered by the sun. Apparently (see here), the thing to do is put your tomato plants in a shady spot for the first few days of hardening off, and then they’ll be OK. And don’t get water on the leaves, either.
This is what the Brandywine seedlings look like now I’ve potted them up into individual pots. (It’s Saturday as I write this and the potting up took place on Wednesday. Took me ages, because I had to (a) find enough suitable pots in the corners of the garden, and (b) rinse them off to remove dead snails/spider eggs/worms.) Anyway, the Brandywine seedlings are the ones at the back – the ones towards the front are Gardener’s Pearl. They’ve got smooth-edged leaves, rather than the slightly curly-edged ones that you expect on tomatoes. Today I also potted up ten Gardener’s Delight seedlings, so all being well it should be a tomatotastic summer again!
|Well, I planted the Brandywine tomato seeds and here, about a fortnight later, is what the resulting seedlings look like. They will need to be transferred to individual pots very soon. I’ve also got a few seedlings of something called Gardener’s Pearl, which is a hanging basket tomato (it came as part of a big packet of mixed tomato and basil seeds, which I bought from my local pound shop last year). I was going to plant Tumbling Toms again this year, but what with the Brandywine, the Gardener’s Pearl and some good ol’ Gardener’s Delight that I’ve also just planted, I think the Tumbling Toms would be overkill. Even we can’t eat that much chutney LOL.|
Today I’ve been outside cleaning seed trays, ready to plant tomato seeds. Speaking of which, the ones I ordered online (a variety called Brandywine) arrived in the post today, along with packets of rainbow chard, mizuna, giant red mustard and another Oriental leafy thing called Green In Snow. There’ll be lots of stir frying going on in a few months’ time!
The Brandywine variety of tomato is described on the Tamar Organics site/seed packet as “a large pink-fruited tomato regarded by many as the best flavoured”. If it lives up to its billing, I will be a very happy tomato eater 😆