As you will have no doubt noticed this blog is called Suburban Tomato, but unless you read my “about” page (pretty recently if your memory is anything like mine…) you wont necessarily know why. Well this is why:
Tomatoes are pretty much my favourite food and were the initial motivation behind establishing a kitchen garden. I simply wanted to grow great tasting tomatoes to cook and eat. Things mushroomed from there to incorporate other vegetables and herbs but I am still looking for that perfect tomato. It needs to be one that: grows well in partial shade, resists disease, the birds don’t eat, doesn’t fruit all in one go, fruits no matter how hot or cold the summer is and most of all tastes delicious. In short; the perfect tomato for my part of suburbia. Impossible? The thing I love about gardening is that each year brings a new chance to find out.
This year I am concentrating on growing cherry and small tomatoes. This is partially because the kids seem to prefer them and partially because they are perfect for the salads I intend to eat all summer (plants and weather willing of course…). The varieties I am growing this year are:
Small or cherry:
- Tommy Toe
- Yellow Boy
- Sweet F1 Hybrid
- Baby Red Pear
- Broad Ripple Currant
Plus a trio of larger varieties:
- Black Krim
- Rouge de Marmande
This represents their progress so far.
21st July 2011 – Seed sown and seed tray kept in the laundry for warmth.
3rd August 2011 – First to germinate was Sweet F1 Hybrid. I move the seed trays outside the day I notice them germinating otherwise the plants become way too leggy as I don’t have a well lit windowsill for them. They live in a small plastic covered seed tray when outside.
4th August 2011 – Black Krim & Yellow Boy germinate.
5th August 2011 – Baby Red Pear germinates.
6th August 2011 – Rouge de Marmande & Tommy Toe seedlings emerge.
7th August 2011 – just seed leaves:
17th August 2011 – Getting Bigger
21st August 2011 – Starting to get true leaves so I give them a dose of liquid fertiliser.
29th August 2011 – Ready to be potted up.
29th August 2011 – I pot up the seedlings into 10cm herb pots.
I think these should be ready for planting out in October which I think is about right for my part of Melbourne, but having said that I’ve planted out tomato seedlings as early as August and as late as December before and had good outcomes.
I seem to be taking more care with my tomatoes this year – perhaps having decided not to have any more children (I have two) I feel a need to give that maternal thing one last outing. This time with a neater, quieter, cleaner, cheaper, etc etc etc baby. But I worry as though they’re a child, are they warm enough, have they enough to eat, is their growth rate appropriate, am I over or under feeding them, they’re not sick are they… and so it goes on. Hmmm I wonder if I can get them clean up after themselves….actually I know that they wont as the detritus of last years crop can still be found around my stakes. A job for the weekend perhaps.