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Tomatoes, Experiments & Cucumbers Galore

I’m still being cautious after the cataract surgery – last thing I want to do is set back the surgeon’s fantastic work. But a little careful time in the greenhouse. Harvesting some exceptional tomatoes and cucumbers, results of a couple of experiments with alternative growing methods.

Black Russian & Indigo Rose Tomatoes

Black Russian & Indigo Rose Tomatoes

Big Black Russian Tomato

We really like Black Russian tomatoes. They’re generally large, very juicy with a rich flavour. We make a simple tomato salad with them Slice up, sprinkle with a little garlic salt and drizzle with olive oil. Leave for a few hours for the flavours to mingle. Add some small cubes of feta or a hard goat cheese and some decent crusty bread to soak up the oil and juices. Heaven on a plate starter, snack or side dish.

This baby was exceptional – 496 grams.

Indigo Rose

Indigo Rose Tomatoes

Indigo Rose Tomatoes

Now this is an odd tomato. It starts green and then most of the skin goes a shiny black colour except for a patch around the base which stays green. The black is not an indicator of ripeness. I’d read that the green would turn a sort of rose red when it was ripe but was beginning to doubt it was ever going to. Well, one small one has finally turned and it looks like the rush is about to start.

Val tells me that they’re a lovely flavour .. hopefully I’ll get to find out for myself soon! She’s been busy experimenting with a red tomato chutney recipe. We’re ending up with 15 small jars – variations on the theme.

Hopefully there’s loads more tomatoes to come – unless the dreaded blight gets them first.


Very Deep Planting Tomatoes

I tried a little experiment this year, planting tomatoes very deeply. Normally I plant with about 10 cm of the stem under the soil but this time they were about 25 cm deep. I won’t bother with that again. The lowest trusses were lying on the soil and suffered from slugs and snails. Growth was no better, if anything worse, than usual.

Horizontal Planting Tomatoes

I also tried an old method where the tomato is planted almost horizontally and then naturally curves upwards and goes up the support. Well that was another fail in my book. I planted a Cherokee that way but it never really took off and then Sammy Snail came along and ate through the stem.

I think it’s important to experiment and try new ideas out. That’s how we progress, after all. Often our failures have more to teach us than our successes. In which case I’m very well taught! Next year I’ll probably just keep it simple and stick with my proven methods. Well, wait and see!

Cucumbers Galore


Cucumbers Galore – well 2.145 Kg (not including the plate!)

As the gherkins have finished, I’m down to one cucumber plant. It’s been a slow development but now it’s really living up to its name Marketmore. My daughter came round and she’d said she could use some cukes so I nipped out to the greenhouse and came back with 2.145 Kg of fruits!

Val converted a kilo into a smashing soup with some potatoes and cheese. A portion for the freezer, a gift for our neighbours and one for us now. Another cucumber went into that classic Greek dish Tzatziki (just call it tizzy tocky, like we do!)

Only three left in the fridge until the next flush..

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
16 comments on “Tomatoes, Experiments & Cucumbers Galore
  1. Anna Scamans says:

    Thank you! I was wondering how to tell when Indigo Rose was ripe…. 🙂

  2. JacsH says:

    Like your Black Russian, one of our favourites too. Picked our first Indigo Rose on 10 Sept but the rest are only just ripening. They make a nice extension to the other varieties we’ve grown. Bloody Butcher is the earliest – mid July; all sown heated propagator 1-4 April and grown in tunnel. Emilie did as well as Marketplace this year and skin not as bitter. Try tomato, cranberry (finishing last year’s crop in the freezer) with a dash of orange oil ‘jamtney’ – an experiment that is delish. Very hot kasundi is another excellent use up veg chutney – tomato, courgette and carrot with spices. Melon Irina has done well and we’ve 8 fruits from 4 plants – just eat them!! Squash on the other hand – heavy crop in tunnel and outside but not ripening and we’ve already been down to 6 degrees overnight.

  3. Kevin McNaughton says:

    We grew Amish Paste Tomatoes for the first time this year. Out doors and in grow bags. An excellent crop of large fleshy tomatoes. Every one was over 450 grams and the largest was 571 grams. Besides those eaten as saladina pomodori and caprese, we bottled the equivalent of 37 410 gram tins. And they are still coming!! We are in Walton on the Naze in north east Essex and are growing outdoors. The San Marzano weren’t up to much in comparison but the San Marzano nano plants produced plenty for salads and salse crude throughout mid July to mid September, also grown outdoors. As for the recipes, what can I say, my mother is Italian! I suffer from nonnismo, if nonna did it, that’s how it’s done!

    • JacsH says:

      Our Amish Paste have done brilliantly too, although in a poly tunnel. Wouldn’t try growing toms outside up here in Scotland. Another excellent tomato this year has been Tomande F1, massive beefy jobs with superb taste when ripe, not to forget Orange Russian that lives up to its name, a solid orange ox-heart shape. We’ll be self sufficient this year, again, in roasted, blitzed and frozen toms – 46kg, about 90 tinsworth. Mind you, there were times when ! didn’t want to see another tomato again!

    • Kevin McNaughton says:

      At last! All the tomatoes are finished. Another 30 tins worth bottled. 51 litres of passata.20 litres of various green tomato chutney-a recipe from 1947, curried green tomato chutney, mild green tomato chutney and hot and spicy green tomato chutney. I also made half a dozen jars of green tomato jam, a first for me and surprisingly tasty!
      In with the garlic when it stops drizzling, I have to be careful or my electric scooter fuses! I am very happy with my 21 inch raised beds.

  4. Pat says:

    Would love Val’s recipe for cucumber please.
    Never know what to do with surplus.

  5. claire Ewen says:

    Different tastes for all – how funny I didn’t like the Black Russian at all – mushy and not full of flavour for me and won’t be growing those again. I grew the Indigo last year and quite liked them but might return to sungold next year along with trying amish paste. My san marzano have been great and are now frozen tomato puree!

    • Nick says:

      I agree with Claire about the flavour and texture of Black Russian. My San Marzano, Beefmaster F1, Tigrella and Golden Sunrise all looked the part and cropped well but were also pretty tasteless. I grew these in the poly tunnel. I must be doing something wrong. That said, i loved the Gardeners Delight that I grew as a bush, and a couple of different cherry tomatoes were delicious.

  6. Janet Huyton says:

    I’ve done a few blackish small ones this year. For the first time ever I used a growbag, never again!! Much better fare from the pots, the growbag was a stinking stagnant mess when we got back off a week’s holiday at the weekend. Loads still coming but slowly and my miniature cucumbers have been lovely but only got 4-5 so will plant more next year. Just pulled up some baby turnips that look great but obviously need tasting. All the cruciferous went in the bin with caterpillars clinging to them. Another never again, will stick to toms, cucs, beans, peas and turnips I think! Have loads of toms in the freezer and have just got a bag of roasted out to use in a traybake. Took a load on holiday last week and used the cottage’s electricity to do them slowly. Thanks for all the tips 🙂

  7. Tony Gooch says:

    I tried deep planting tomatoes this year and was amazed at the size of crop, Gardener’s Delight,5 plants of 4 trusses,160 fruits per plant, Harbinger,larger than usual fruits and trusses causing plants to collapse under weight and in the greenhouse Shirley and Country Taste all needing their trusses tying to the roof with string for support.Next year I shall be able grow fewer plants.

    • John Harrison says:

      Tony, when you say deep planting, how deep?

      • Tony says:

        I grew rather spindly plants in the greenhouse,removed all but the top leaves and stuffed them into holes about 8 inches deep,others were put into the bottom of ten inch deep pots and filled with grow=bag compost.

        • John Harrison says:

          How did they do, Tony?

          • Tony says:

            Gardener’s Delight,I stopped at four trusses,each truss had at least forty toms,160 per plant,three plants in pots,three in the ground.Harbinger,more toms than usual and bigger,like wise Shirley in the greenhouse,had to tie each truss with string to the roof for extra support.I won’t do so many plants next year,half as many will be more than enough.

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