Questions of scale – allotment tomatoes

The issue of tomatoes is a vexed one: we grow ours in a greenhouse at home, not at the plot. It’s not that we haven’t tried … three years, on three different plots, over our co-working career, we spent (dare I say wasted?) three summers growing (trying to grow) outdoor tomatoes. We raised them from seed, we planted them out, they developed fruit, they got blight, they died. It was a constant theme of dreary failure in our lives.

Then, a couple of years ago, my wonderful OH gave me a greenhouse for my birthday. Regular readers will remember. My birthday is at the beginning of autumn and the greenhouse finally made it to standing status at the end of the winter … better late than never, and entirely down to OH’s profound ability to do things practical with straight lines and level surfaces, which has not been my forte, I will freely admit.

On the other hand, the greenhouse has been the saviour of our tomato growing career. From the tiny and charming tanginess of the currant tomato, whose plant was donated by a friend, through to the vast pulpy (and somewhat tasteless, I have to say) impressiveness of the Big Red F1 hybrid, whose seeds were also a gift (Secret Santa – I sighed when I saw what I’d got, but they have been fun to grow if not thrilling to eat) we have not lost a single tomato plant to blight.

So, as the rain breaks again over our house, I am able to wander down the garden to the greenhouse, and pick a handful of nose-prickling, delicious and entirely unwet and unblighted tomatoes.

Joy is not in it. If there is a heaven, I think there will be tomato plants there, but no blight!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, August 23, 2010


Blogger Joanna said...

I wonder if blight is becoming more of a problem as I read lot elsewhere too. We used to grow outdoor bush tomatoes in North East Derbyshire with no problem and I don't ever remember losing them to blight until right at the end of the season when they were due to come up anyway. We used to use Brown's amateur and maybe that was the difference. No idea!

August 23, 2010 at 10:57 PM  
Anonymous said...

I have never (touching wood quickly) suffered with blight on my tomatoes and I have always grown mine outside in the garden....they are planted in tubs of compost though not in the ground...I guess i would know if my tomatoes got blight but I have never actually seen it in all the years I have been growing up and my Mum has always grown tomatoes too!!

The tomatoes on the latter photo certainly look's a pity the taste doesn't live up to their look!

August 23, 2010 at 11:42 PM  
Blogger Z said...

I got blight one year on my potatoes and after that I got it every year for a while. I stopped growing potatoes and outdoor tomatoes for a few years and now I don't have any problem.

August 25, 2010 at 2:04 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Joanna, I think it is more widespread, less heavy frosts to kill off the blight spores in the soil these days with global warming and urban microclimates.

Tanya, I think it's much less likely in gardens because they tend to have good walls and fences to stop the blight being carried on the air. On open allotments it's a menace.

Zerlina, you're right, it can be dealt with if you don't grow solancae in the area for a few years, but allotment-holders will never vote for a ban on their favourite crops (toms and pots) to destroy the blight cycle!

August 26, 2010 at 9:01 AM  

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