It’s the second week in September, and the tomatoes are *just* hitting their stride. I’ve sliced a couple of Brandywines and fried them with our Sunday bacon and egg, and for the last two weeks we’ve been enjoying a small but steady supply of Gardener’s Delights and Tumbling Toms in salads. Today I made a tomato sauce to go with pork meatballs and linguine. I love this time of year.
|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.)|
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!
I love this time of year. It’s when all your efforts over the previous six months come to fruition – literally. The first of our Gardeners Delight tomatoes are ripening off; when they start to go orange, I just pick them (leaving the calyx on if possible) and shove them on a little temporary wooden shelf I’ve stuck on our kitchen windowsill. Well, it’s more of a sort of platform, consisting of a bit of tongue & groove propped up with some rectangular marble trophies that the other half and I once won for our quizzing efforts. The extra three inches of elevation gives the tomatoes that much more sunlight. I’ve heard that placing a banana or two with the tomatoes speeds up the ripening process, but have never tried it.
On an almost unrelated note (and nothing to do with container gardening at all really), I went foraging for blackberries at the weekend and picked about five pounds of them! They were gorgeous: the best ever. Made a massive blackberry crumble and stuck the rest in the freezer. I reached the blackberries just in time – a week later and most of them would have been past the point of being edible. Just as well I didn’t listen to the Daily Mail’s article about blackberries being late this year!