February 16th, 2017 | News, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments
“Outstanding in every respect” is how Mr Fothergill’s technical manager Alison Mulvaney describes the company’s British-bred tomato Red Bodyguard F1, as she reveals its exclusivity is being extended for a second season in 2017. “Once again it was trouble-free to grow, and produced a heavy crop of really tasty, succulent beefsteak fruits in our 2016 trial”, she reports. “In addition, several of our team grew it in their own greenhouses at home last year, and were equally impressed as we were by the plants in our trial”.
The tomato derives its rather unusual name from a book written about the beneficial properties of the tomato. “The Red Bodyguard: The Amazing Health-promoting Properties of the Tomato” by Ron Levin is published in its third edition by IRIS (International) Ltd. Ron’s daughter-in-law Sarah Levin contacted Mr Fothergill’s to see if a new tomato might be named in honour of her father-on-law’s 90th birthday. The company read Ron’s book and liked the idea.
Tomato Red Bodyguard F1 is the result of various crosses made by renowned breeder Simon Crawford using seed harvested from Mr Fothergill’s trial ground. The result is an indeterminate, early cropping, high yielding, new strain, with some resistance to late blight, which produces medium-sized, juicy, delicious and aromatic fruits.
Ron Levin, a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, was intrigued by the World Health Organisation’s promotion of eating portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and wondered whether some were better than others for human health. He read hundreds of studies on tomatoes, and the more he read the more he was convinced of the remarkable properties of the tomato. “The ripe red tomato is surely a health gift from Nature”, says Ron. It was this huge amount of research which spurred him to write “The Red Bodyguard” in the hope of making as many people as possible aware of it.
A packet of 10 seeds of tomato Red Bodyguard F1 costs £1.99. It is available from garden centres and other retail outlets throughout the UK, and from Mr Fothergill’s mail order catalogue. Seed can be sown from February to April. The plants require support, the removal of side-shoots, and should be grown in a greenhouse or polytunnel.