Top Tomato

Lack of tomato leaves = lots of light in the tunnel

Brr, those hard frosts at the weekend were a bit of a surprise! It’s a good thing I got the pumkins in, as all the squash and courgette plants have had it now; and I’ve also just picked the last of the dwarf French beans – their leaves got frosted and the plants are now dying. It’s a shame we couldn’t wait a week or so longer before getting the frosts – the last sowing of beans had flowered and were just starting to grow beans; never mind, it was always a bit of a gamble to drill them at the end of July (so much for a long Indian summer!).

Now the weather’s turning, my focus is indoors more than ever (though it’s pretty much only been in the polytunnels where anything’s actually grown this year). The tomatoes, peppers, chillies, cucumbers and aubergines didn’t suffer in the chill because of their protection; but they have slowed right down, and it probably will only be a few more weeks before they have to come out; and more salads will go in.

I took the last of the new shoots and leaves off the tomatoes on Monday, and the plants look very naked an embarassed at the moment, as we hope for a few more sunny days to ripen the last of the fruits. They have done really well; there’s been a little  of blight in there, and one or two plants (Black Russian especially) got it so badly early on they had to come out. Other than that, it’s not been too bad (though supposedly reliable F1 variety Diplom has suffered, and nearly all the fruits are mottled now – I’ll stick to my heirlooms next year which are more robust!); which is pretty surprising given the moist weather – fungal blight’s favourite conditions. Stripping back the leaves and any sideshoots weekly, plus stopping watering in August, seems to have done the trick.


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