Sunday, 8 July 2007

Aussie tomatoes in Germany

OK, I'm back from holidays in Austria and Germany, but have yet to find the courage to tell Claudia that, of the hundreds of photos I took, only a handful are of her family and the scenery. Yep, most of them are from vegie gardens...

What I can say is that Aussie seed saving is having a small impact on German vegies. In this photo of Claudia and her parents, in her Uncle Rolf's garden in Forst in the Rhine Valley, you can see Des's Delicious tomatoes bumping Red Oxhearts and Roma Tomatoes, all of which started life here in my garden in Adelaide. My lettuce seeds are also doing well, particularly the Red Cos and Red Coral varieties.

I include a larger photo of Rolf's garden; the houses all front straight onto the footpath in this village, in a rather bleak street setting, but behind them one finds all these productive kitchen gardens. They also kept a pig and a few chooks in days gone by, but no longer. Apparently 'kill-the-pig day' was something of a family ritual, with everyone working and sharing the produce.

One of the other significant differences in the southern German vegie patches is their tomato frames; these are often merely a stainless-steel spiral with the straight end stuck into the ground, and one plant growing up each spiral. My father-in-law tells me it's great early on, but once the weight of the tomatoes starts to have an impact, the whole plant tends to slump down the spiral and end up in the dirt.

So my last photo shows one of the other common methods of growing tomatoes in a limited space, and where golden bamboos don't grow. I reckon Kate has demonstrated this one for us; the cylindrical frame, or variations on it, like this six-sided version.
One of the great things about German kitchen gardens is that they have all sorts of berries; I'm particularly fond of the raspberries, but one also finds cranberries, blueberries, gooseberries and in the trees, plenty of cherries of all sorts. Perhaps, one day soon, I'll find time to upload my photos of one particularly productive garden, which should remind us all that gardeners the world over are much of a muchness in their enthusiasm, appreciation of fine food, and willingness to share advice and produce.


Maggie said...

Welcome home Claudia and Andrew, We have missed you.
Uncle Rolfs garden looks great.
We have had lots of rain and are enjoying great greens from our gardens.
Greetings Maggie.
Ps We would love one of Claudias delicious cakes posted on the blog.

Kate said...

Hey Andrew, great to have you back. Lots happening on the blog and we have 500g of assorted seeds to share with you and everyone, from the seedsavers network. I am all worn out mulching, but happy.