Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Final tomato harvest and some weirdos!

Apologies for my recent disappearance!! Some of you may know I had a job interview, which was originally scheduled for last week but was postponed to today instead.  Thankfully on my part, because due to my boss being on holiday, I've been managing the entire time he's been away, and as we're open 7 days I have worked 10 days straight, followed by a day off to act upon bridesmaid duties and sew my suit for my interview like a mad thing.  Then back to work and FINALLY off again today to have my interview and its the first time I've been able to get into the garden in about two weeks, particularly in DAYLIGHT, which seems to have almost left Scotland lately altogether. (The interview went very well for anyone wondering, and I'll let you know how I got on when I hear back next week).

So today I only really had time to check on everything and quickly water it.  It was like a mad chilli jungle, with them having flowered yet again and producing fruits all over the place.  A bit odd, not sure if this is like a last gasp defence mechanism or not.  I still have a bazillion of these plants though, so I will definitely be overwintering at least a few of them.  

I decided it was time to call it a day with the tomatoes, and brought them all inside and cut off the remaining fruits, which I will ripen in the boiler cupboard.  Although I've never read about it before, I'm going to experiment with overwintering tomatoes.  It sounds totally mad, since I've never heard of anyone even trying this before, but I figured why not give it a go since I'm overwintering a bunch of other things anyway.  So I pruned them all down to the point where they can still grow in the side shoots (that I would normally pinch out).  I plan to put them into very deep pots and allow the lower stems to build a really strong root system and I'm hoping this might mean the plants survive long enough to start re-sprouting later.  We will see!  I will likely keep them indoors if not in the greenhouse during this.  I have planted some side shoots which I let grow then cut off a few months ago and they are all doing extremely well in the greenhouse, they are lovely and green, tall, though height growth has slowed as its gotten colder, and they are clearly hydrated and holding water very well.  So I will leave them in the greenhouse and monitor them to see if they actually make it through to spring, when I hope they will start growing up again.  

So now for my harvest!  There's a mix of Black Russian, which is the one with ridges and is dark green on top.  They ripen to red with almost black on top.  There's also moneymaker and roma and a couple chillis in there too.

Roma performed very...non existantly this year.  All my tomato plants produced, and I know at least two of them were Roma as far as I know (there should have been 2 of each of the three varieties)  but the cross pollination of them saw most of the plants producing Black Russians and Moneymakers on the same plant on multiple plants!  I have only seen one distinctly Roma-esque tomato.  So its clearly the weaker of the three.  I would say that Black Russian is the more dominant one, but they take the longest to ripen.

And who is this little weirdo?

I call him Triplette, (because you know, I name and genderise all my tomatoes...), and its literally a single tomato, split into three at the bottom, but attached at the top.  The "scars" on the fruit are from the flower petals which were stuck.  I didn't see this one when it first grew until it got quite big, so I didn't pull the flower off, and as a result the tomato grew through the middle and around the outer edges as the flower was pushed away from the stalk, resulting in this.

It has this brown section on the underside of both edges of one segment of the tomato.  It seems to be the equivalent of a tomato ectopic pregnancy.  The seeds have been produced on the outside of this section, instead of inside.  They are very small and the surface appears more similarly to a strawberry.  It will be interesting to let this one ripen then cut it open.  I'm not sure it will be salvageable as edible, but it will certainly be interesting!

Now that I trimmed it off, I'm not sure if this IS a chilli, or rather a sweet pepper.  I'm sure I'll find out.  I forgot to label well, ANY of my chillis or peppers (fool that I am with having so many) but I may well have got some cross pollination from them too.

I have lots of posts cued up to go, so now that my interview is over, and even if I get the job I wouldn't start until January, so I'm hoping I can get enough time actually out of work to get some more daylight photos and updates on garden renovations and who/what is being overwintered!  (I saw who, cos these plants are basically my children) :P  It's nice to be back!


  1. I read on a blog of someone overwintering some tomato plants and they did go on to produce the following year, so you may be lucky with them. I suppose the main thing is keeping them warm enough, but that shouldn't be an issue if you're bringing them indoors. Glad the interview went well, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

    1. Yeah I reckon if I keep them inside over the winter it shouldn't be an issue, because none of the plants are in any way diseased, all have produced well and are healthy, so I see no reason why they wouldn't do well if they indeed manage to produce again in spring. It will be a fun little experiment!

  2. Hope you are successful and get the job! I've never heard of tomatoes cross pollinating before and we grow about five varieties close together - maybe our insects are more selective!

    1. I grew them all in the greenhouse so I certainly didn't expect much cross pollination either! But I know there have been some bees who followed me in when I went in to water a few times over the flowering season, and I did have the plants very close together (they were all separately potted) just because the greenhouse isn't that big, so I guess they could have literally touched flowers from a different plant next to it at some point. I think I will make sure Roma is place away from any other varieties next year, because I'd really like some Roma tomatoes!