We had some guests stay this Friday so I decided to split by day and spend a few hours at the allotment planting out the tomatoes, and I’ll go help the Growing Communities patchwork farm team on Sunday with their site clearance:
Planting out the tomatoes is something i’ve been holding out for better weather to do. May has ended on a couple of chilling weeks so I’m glad that my luck was in with a warm day on the 31st, pretty much perfect for planting out the tomatoes. They have all been grown from seed, some my own, some free from magazines, and some from my friend Alex. I’ve put notes on the varieties at the end of the post.
I drew this back in January and have been patiently waiting for my plan to come to fruition… good things come to those who wait!
These are the plants have had in the cold frame for a while now, waiting for them to get bigger and stronger. I’ve left the lid of the frame open for the last week to reduce their protection and prepare them for their final positions.
First I had to remove the mix of annual and perennial weeds from the bed I prepared back in Jan. Some of these perennial weeds had about a foot of root so it was a now or never attack on them (I don’t want anything taking food or water from the toms!) I think they were Dandelions.
Once cleared (apart from the sunflowers on the left and the sweet peas on the right) I laid out the plants to see how many I could actually fit. The answer was five down the centre of each pole and I think about one at each end (between the tripods).
I wanted to make sure that I planted the tomatoes directly below the supports above so that that string would be straight. To do this I tied a rock to a piece of string that I tied to the support and let settle. This marked a the centre of the holes I then dug at distances of about 30cm between plants.
The first 4 holes dug. I made them quite big because 1) I was going to add some extra food at the bottom and 2) I’ve learnt that you can burry toms a bit deeper because they root form their stalks so it makes them stronger.
Each hole then had a trowel load of worm cast added to the bottom. This comes from our wormery that lives outside the flat. We’ve had it for a couple of year now and the worm cast and worm ‘tea’ are both great products for the allotment and I don’t know what i’d do without them!
To get the string to stay anchored to the plants I tied them to the root ball before placing into the pre-dug hole. I made sure that the long end of the string then came out from the ground close to the stem so that the plant wasn’t pulled about too much when it was tied to the top pole.
Here’s the first one in place. I had actually planted it initial without attaching the string to the plant so had to dig it out again… doh!
The finished bed! So far it houses 9 plants, the last 3 are still in the cold frame to get a bit bigger before I put them out.
This year i’m growing:
Marmande Super (x2)
Grown last year, were ok and had seeds left over so thought worth another go.
Chocolate Cherry (x2)
A new one for this year.
A new one this year. This plant has interesting leaves that look like something between a tomato and a potato.
Cherokee Purple (x2)
A new one for this year, grown from some seeds from Alex.
Not grown before, but came from my friend Alex with good recommendations.
Golden Nuget (x2)
Another from Alex to replace the little yellow ones we grew last year (Golden Sunrise) which I couldn’t find seeds for this year (and had not saved any).
Also in the allotment at the moment:
Yummy fresh salad that has been a regular accompaniment to dinners.