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Tomato blitz!


By balcony


Tomato blitz!

I bought a packet with 5 varieties of tomato seeds about the end of March. I started them off in the propagator indoors then put them outside on the table in the corner of the balcony.

About the middle of May I took them down to the GH on Gerry’s allotment. They made little progress even there.

The season started off terribly for me this year as the seedlings suffered from the cold spring. In June I was convinced I wasn’t going to see any tomatoes this year! The plants I put out on my allotment were pathetic looking things! I was ashamed to plant them out! Nevertheless I thought “You never know with plants, I might get a few tomatoes if the season isn’t as cold & rainy as last year.” I’m now so glad I planted them out as I have had quite a reasonable crop to end the season.

I sowed 5 different varieties: ‘Marmande’, ‘Moneymaker’, ’Gardener’s Delight’, ‘Garden Pearl’ & ‘Sunbaby’. The first four gave me more than sufficient plants in the end but for some reason not a single plant of ‘Sunbaby’ survived!

Tomato ‘Garden Pearl’ & ’Gardener’s Delight’ seeds:

Marmande seedlings just transplanted:

Tomato seedlings in kitchen:

I brought 3 plants of ‘Marmande’ back home from the GH to grow on my balcony:

I grew one in the greenhouse (8th July) on the allotment … :

… & nine at the top of my allotment:

I’d never grown beefsteak type before so didn’t really know what to expect.

Marmande at top of plot ripening:

I harvested many tomatoes from the different plants & it has been interesting to see just how much difference there has been between the 3 environments they were grown in!

Plot 12A: Tomatoes Marmande just picked:

Greenhouse: Tomatoes Marmande just picked:

Balcony: Tomatoes Marmande just picked:

As you might expect for uniformity of size & shape & appearance the GH ones come out on top. The ones grown on my balcony had the best attention with the most feeding but even so I was rather disappointed with them. The shape & size & appearance were halfway between those grown outdoors on the allotment & the one plant in the GH.

‘Garden Pearl’:

The ‘Garden Pearl’ plants, that I had intended to put in the 5 hanging baskets I have on the balcony, did really, really well!

Unfortunately they were grown in the soil on the allotment &, as it turns out, were planted too close together as the stems became interwoven & that made picking the fruit rather difficult. Nonetheless they gave me tons of little roundish fruits that mostly were a little pinkish rather than tomato red, though some of the most mature fruit was red.

I’ll be growing these again next year but in the hanging baskets on the balcony & not in the allotment soil. They had quite a nice tomatoey flavour.

’Gardener’s Delight’:

The few plants of ’Gardener’s Delight’ that survived made very, very tall plants that were very vigorous but didn’t produce nearly as many trusses as I would have expected.

Again maybe it was due to the very poor start, even though the 3 very hot weeks we had in July spurred all my plants along. I was able to harvest a few trusses. I’d hoped they would ripen before the first frosts that we generally get from the 3rd week of October onwards but I picked them all before ‘Late Blight’ ended up killing the plants.

The taste is always good from this tomato, a little sharper than others but the fruit are just a nice bite size. I’ll be growing more of them next year.

Comparison of size between ’Gardener’s Delight’, ‘Marmande’ from plot, ‘Garden Pearl’ & ‘Marmande’ from GH:


As for ‘Moneymaker’, the only 4 surviving plants I put out in the allotment in July! They were once again poor things that I “hid” amongst the Pumpkins! Again, thanks to the very hot weather we had during July they really took off! I’ve never seen tomato plants grow so fast!

I’d manured the bed for the Pumpkins using well rotted horse manure only about 4 or 5 weeks earlier. The Pumpkins & the tomatoes went crazy, the tomatoes reached almost 2m in height! The Pumpkins threw out runners at least 4m long before I cut them back by half & they recovered that length a few weeks later! As for the tomato fruit, well, they set very late, well into August, so I didn’t got many trusses & none of the fruit had matured sufficiently to pick till October. Even so I’m very happy with the few trusses I did get, especially after having been such poor specimens to start with & considering the short time they had in which to grow & fruit.

In short, thanks no doubt to the 3 very hot weeks in July this year, I’ve ended up with many more tomatoes than I know what to do with! So I’m “over the Moon” with my tomatoes this year! (Last year I lost ALL my plants, bar 1, to blight!)

More blog posts by balcony

Previous post: Hot July down at 12A!

Next post: 'Jack O'Lantern' all lit up!



Hi Balcony ..
I especially like the photo comparing the different tomatoes ... well done !

21 Oct, 2013


Lots of great information here Balcony. I've grown Toms for the first time this year (my OH always did them in the past) so this blog has certainly given me food for thought...excuse the pun!

21 Oct, 2013


I am sure most of it is down to the weather , I grow GD each year in the same place and the same routine , and always get different results, as you say this year was really good, last year is best forgotten.

21 Oct, 2013


Thanks, TT. I arranged them that way just so I could take a photo to put on a gardening forum! :-))

Waddy, so glad you liked my blog & pleased that it has given you "food for thought!" LOL!

I've been growing tomatoes for "donkey's years" on the balcony here in the UK & also on some balconies in Spain.

Lizziebee, the weather makes a great deal of influence on the tomatoes. They like it fairly warm & the few weeks of hot weather in July this year did wonders for them!

I agree last year is best forgotten! I lost all my plants, except one, to early blight on the allotments but on our balcony the plants were fine though they had very little fruit & were lanky & drawn. Obviously they didn't get enough light last year with the rain all through the spring, summer & autumn!

21 Oct, 2013


I'm pleased to see you had some nice tomatoes in the end :o) I liked the photo with all the different types ... It's a reason to grow them yourself, because you never see all those to buy in the markets.

22 Oct, 2013


It was a slow start here as well Balcony but we both did well in the end, your photo's show that, I grew G.Delight, Alicante, Moneymaker and a Beefsteak variety, not sure of the name but look exactly like yours, alhough they seemed to take ages to begin ripening it has been a very good year, the plants that were growing in the bottom house I removed nearly 3 wks back and the remaining toms I ripened on a tray, however in the top g'house my plants are still a healthy green and the fruit is still filling out so obviously I won't remove them yet, I've never grown any in the garden but lookijng at your pics especially the Marmande yours do very well, I might experiment just to see how any would fare here, I always have too many so wouldn't lose out...

22 Oct, 2013


Very interesting. It was surprising to see the difference between the ones grown in the ground and those on the balcony with more TLC - there's a lesson there somewhere! A brilliant crop - your freezer will be full!

22 Oct, 2013


Thanks, Hywel. You are unlikely to see 4 or 5 different varieties in your local supermarket, that's for sure!

Lincslass, I had the 3 on the balcony growing till the middle of this month but with the colder weather & only a few toms left & the expectation of frost any day soon, I decided it wasn't worth keeping them any longer. If I'd known we were in for a couple of more weeks of higher than usual temps I might have been tempted to leave them a few weeks longer.

Steragram, I was quite disappointed really with the growth of the plants on the balcony, they didn't really repay the TLC I gave them, in fact the ones on my allotment did better!

The ones in the greenhouse are still growing. The 'Marmande' has one truss still on it while 'Gardener's Delight' just goes on & on, even though I stopped the top shoot more than a month ago.

24 Oct, 2013

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