The Cottage Smallholder

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Home grown tomatoes: a retrospective


Photo: Tomatoes from the garden

Photo: Tomatoes from the garden

We grew several varieties of tomatoes this year and for the first year ever had a success with the French Super Marmande slicing tomato.  It looked superb on the vine and it was with great joy that we plucked the first sturdy fruit.
Danny was silent as he tasted the first slice.
“What’s wrong?”
“It tastes woolly and it’s very thin on the flavour factor.”

I had bought the Unwins ‘The Classic Tomato Collection’ – comprising, Super Marmande, Golden Sunrise, Ailsa Craig and Gardener’s Delight. The last three were very good with all the punchy flavour that one would expect from a home grown tom. Golden Sunrise was particularly good – I had imagined that this was a cherry tomato and was amazed when a chunky one dropped into my hand in the greenhouse. I took a tentative bite – the flavour was intense and deep.

We supplemented the Unwins collection with plum tomato plants from the church fête. Despite a bit of blight we have harvested over 25 kilos already.

We eat a lot of tomatoes so often buy up knock down price tomatoes at Tesco. Yesterday Danny bough back two packs of Tesco finest British Pink Sunrise tomatoes from the condemned food counter. They looked tempting and tasted amazing. Within seconds I was on the net trying to track down seeds for next year, without success. Luckily we have a couple left and I’ve saved the seed from these – although I suspect that these are a new F1 variety and will not grow true. But they might.

I know that it’s a bit early to be thinking about next years tomatoes but with the flavours of this years bounty still fresh in your mind can you recommend the tastiest tomatoes that you have grown this year?

  Leave a reply


  1. Hi Fiona,
    Grew tumbling-toms,black tomatoes and ‘Pommerino’from seeds collected on kitchen paper, not thinking that they would come to anything I just planted seeds,kitchen roll the whole works into the tiniest amount of compost into a well drained,empty butter container,not expecting anything.
    I now have at least 10 beautiful ‘Pomerino\'(not spelt correctly),tomato plants with lovely baby plum tomatoes just awaiting to ripen, hope they tase as good as the originals did, if they do, I won’t be buying any more tomato seeds in future, so fingers crossed, will keep you posted.
    Much love to you and Danny and thankyou,

  2. amalee issa

    Fiona, don’t bother buying tomato seeds – all you need to do is squeeze a few seeds from the tomatoes you are eating onto photocopier paper. It gets really wet but dries overnight on a windowledge. Then you can store the sheets of paper year to year, and simply pick off the dried seeds and plant up as usual in spring. Works every time. Don’t bother with all that nonsense on some websites about soaking in water to make a foul smelling mix etc etc. Just eat, squeeze and go! I’ve got sheets of great seeds with annotations like this –> “lunch at x with x, weather lovely”, followed by a description of the tomato. Good luck!

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi KateUK

    I have ordered some. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Sungold seeds currently 1/3 off at Chiltern Seeds, also Gardeners Delight and many other nice veggies. Worth a look.

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Magic Cochin

    Thanks so much for dropping by with these tips. I love Sungold toms but was too tight to splash out on them this year.

    Interesting that your Marmande toms needed some gentle heat. I hoped that they would be like the slicing tomatoes in Waitrose. We still have quite a few ripening so I’ll try them on toast.

    Liguria is on my list for next year.

    Hi Tamar

    Sungold again – it really is a great tomato. I looked up Brandywine toms and they are available in the UK as a heritage seed. These have gone on my list immediately.

    Hello Sylvie

    How disappointing that you got no fruit.

    We have had a great haul but hoping to grow more next year now we’ve discovered the delights of bottling and dehydrating.

    Hi Steve

    Thanks for that. Our Alisa Craig have done really well this year and survived the outbreak of blight that knocked other varieties on the head.

    It must be great to have the old boy’s advice on the allotment. Moneymaker is now on the list!

    BTW my nasturtiums didn’t attract the cabbage whites this year and it was a long war on the caterpillars on the brassicas front.

    Hello Liz

    There is a definite picture developing here – Monemaker, Alisa Craig and Gardeners Delight.

    Can’t wait for spring and making our asparagus bed. I don’t suppose you have any tips for the best varieties?

    Hi Jude

    Lucky you – that sounds brilliant. Green tiger is not on my list. Thanks for your swap offer – I better dry more seed!

    Hello Kayvic

    Thanks for all this info. Sweet 1 million are now on my list!

    Shame that you can’t grow Bradywine as they sound so good.

    Hello Helen

    Thanks for that. I think that the plum tomato plants that we got from the church fete were Roma. They taste great but didn’t produce masses of fruit. Gardeners delight are always scrummy.

    Hello Kate

    I followed your advice earlier this year and whipped out any tomato plants with blight marks on the stems and most of the fruit ripened well indoors and was fine.

    All our toms took their time ripening this year but at least we had some to harvest.

    Hi James H

    Thank you for your advice. I’m definitely going to grow GD and Sungold next year.

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