Sunday, 13 May 2007

tomato season 2006-7

  • TOMATO SEASON 2006-7
    As I pick the last of my tomatoes I reflect on the season that was. Overall it was an excellent season for vegetables, especially tomatoes & walnuts due to the dry spring & hot summer but a very poor season for most other things due to the big dry.

    The tomatoes we have enjoyed
    Principle bourghese. Small prune shaped with great fresh flavour for salads. It dries well.
    San marzano 2. Very long narrow tomato. Roma type. Great in sauces as well salads. Dries well.
    Cour di bue. Large heart shaped. Very meaty. Excellent flavour fresh & cooked. As these are very large they have taken a long time to develop & ripen. But we are still enjoying them.
    Delicious. A traditional type large round tomato. Excellent flavour. Good on toast. Its was also slow to develop & ripen.

Can't give you an overall favourite we enjoyed them all. My favourite Saturday breakfast is eggs poached in fresh tomatoes. Cook up the tomatoes then poach the eggs in it.
Have also dried, bottled & made sauce to enjoy the flavours til the next season starts.

How they got to our plate
The seeds were planted on the 7th August (2days before the full moon) in my own mix of seed raising mix (sifted compost & oak leaf litter)
The varieties the seeds planted this year were Franchi, an Italian brand. Principle bourghese, San marzano 2 and Cour di bue.
Once planted they were raised inside.
Mid Sept they were moved outside to harden off.

Garden Preparation
My garden consists of small raised beds. The tomatoes were grown in 4 different beds which were all prepared in early September.
2 of beds grew a green manure crop of oats & broad beans which were dug in the first week of September. My Compost & garden lime were also added.
The other beds both had grown a mix of winter greens & carrots. My Biodynamic compost & lime were dug in.

All the garden & tunnel received 2 applications biodynamic 500 on September 10th & 24th.
Some of the seedlings went into the tunnel house on September 21st (new moon) for early crop. Very necessary in the coolest parts of the hills.
The seedlings, along with a Delicious seedling purchased at the seed savers Seedy Sunday were planted out on October 21st (new moon).

The seedlings were watered in with casuarinas spray/nettle mix*. 2x a week for the first 3 weeks .In previous years this has helped keep them healthy in the tunnel house as there is limited space for rotations. I used it outside in the garden as well this year.
They were mulched with wheat straw. All were given one deep water per week from November to March.
This has been an excellent season for tomatoes due to warmer spring & long summer I am still harvesting from the garden. Seeds have been saved ready for next season.

*Casurarina Tea
300 g casuarina needles cover with 10 litre water simmer slowly in a covered vessel for 20 minutes .Strain and dilute 1:4 with water.
Nettle Tea
Add 10 litres of water to 1kg fresh nettles (Urtica dioica) Leave until rotted (8 days -4 weeks depending on temperature) strain. Can be stored. To use dilute 1:9 with water.
The mix I use is
2 litre casurarina tea, 1litre nettle tea diluted to 9 litres.a type.


Kate said...

I am glad your tomatoes were so good. Mine were very poor with disease setting in early. Next summer I begin serious rotation for tomatoes. I love to read such detail about what you did, especially sowing and transplanting times. Biodynamics certainly seems to work.

Andrew said...

Well done, Deborah
I'm glad someone got some decent tomatoes this year; mine were a dead loss, as I was in Germany during Spring, and didn't get to plant out Diana's seedlings until mid-November. After that, it was a struggle against the heat and water stress, given the big dry that had already settled in by then. There really is a time for every season...
Looks like you are doing everything right in your garden - looking forward to a tour one day