Posts Tagged ‘outdoor tomatoes’

Nation of Gardeners results: Tomato Sungold plants

May 22nd, 2014 | Nation of Gardeners, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Tomato SungoldTomato Sungold F1  are a high yielding tomato producing lots of cherry-sized fruits that hang in trusses on vigorous plants.  The plants produce sweet, delicious flavour fruits with a good red colour and texture. This variety has disease resistance to Tobacco Mosaic Virus and Fusarium oxysporum and is an indeterminate good for indoor and outdoor growing.

Our Nation of Gardeners were asked to sow Tomato Sungold F1 in March 2014 for outdoor growing.  They were supplied the same variety as plants in April 2014 for comparison purposes. Mr Fothergill’s are looking for reports on yield and flavour of this popular variety.

The table below charts their progress.

Location Elevation Date planted Date first bloom/fruit Notes
Cheshire 49m 10 April Planted straight to open ground. West facing position.
Renfrewshire 28m 10 April Placed in plastic grow house
North Devon 30-50m 13 April Potted on to east facing windowsill.
Worcestershire 55m 10 April 15 May Planted out 3 May in west facing position. The first flowers have appeared 15/5
Herefordshire 11 April Potted and left by front door- west facing. 30 April: very slow to put on growth so moved to the poly tunnel
Cumbria 90m 10 April 11 April Planted into greenhouse.  Flowers showing on these plants 11 April.
Ceredigion 131m 11 April Planted into greenhouse – strong, speedy plants.
Bristol 55m 10 April Planted into conservatory
Suffolk 6m 10 April Planted into the greenhouse
Hertfordshire 150m 11 April Planted into greenhouse in growbags. Planted into growbag outside on the 5th May
Surrey 58m 10 April Planted into greenhouse in south west facing position. Lovely strong healthy plant Grown in pots. 16/05/14
Pontypridd 157m 10 April Supplied as strong established plants. Have doubled in size since first planted. In process of hardening off and will go into final positions in a few weeks time.
Buckinghamshire 66m
Guildford 56m
Gloucestershire 74m 17 April Planted into the greenhouse. South facing position
Moray 10 April Planted into greenhouse. South facing position
Derbyshire 241m 10 April 9 May 15/04/2014 – all well established a few days after potting on to compost – indoors overnight, outside during the days to keep hardened off.  30 April: Stronger plants that are more hardy looking than the seed sown plants from previous month. 9 May: first yellow flowers.

Nation of Gardeners March planting update: time to compare spring planting with autumn planted varieties

April 22nd, 2014 | Nation of Gardeners, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

March parcel for Nation of GardenersThe March parcel marked the half-year of this project.  We have passed from autumn, through the hard winter months and back out into spring where the lighter days are making everything feel more hopeful.  It is safe to say that at the 6 month mark we have a network of full gardens and full windowsills stuffed to brimming with Mr Fothergill’s produce around the UK.

The weather in March turned mild, and then even turned sunny, before the sting in the tail of the last week of the month.  However, this  break in the weather enabled our gardeners to get going with no impediments for this month’s parcel which contained three varieties of tomato to trial.  Also in their sixth parcel, they found Garlic, Broad Beans and two varieties of Strawberries – Buddy and Sweetheart – all of which they had grown before.

You can follow the gardener’s progress as they post regular updates to the Facebook wall, and if you feel the need… then join in the conversation!  We’ve been finding that other people are joining in and posting pictures of their own developing crops and seedlings which is great to see how they compare with what our own group of gardeners are seeing.   This makes it a true Nation of Gardeners!  So if you are growing and have plants emerging for the first time, please feel free to also post your updates to the wall.

 

A round up of March’s planting tasks
Potted garlicA third shipment of Garlic Solent Wight was sent out in March.   After the autumn and spring planted Garlic Solent Wight from bulbs in October and February, Mr Fothergill’s decided to test out supplying the gardeners with some pot grown garlic – pictured here to the left.

The gardeners were supplied with three plants that were already growing in pots of compost, and were asked to keep an eye on these for whether they bolt having been grown on by the Mr Fothergill’s nursery team in this way.

Together with a final shipment of pot-grown garlic that will be sent out in April, it is hoped we get some firm conclusions on garlic growing across the UK using direct comparisons on techniques for growing to give us the optimum method and time of year to plant out.  See this article on early results published earlier in April for more on garlic growing across our UK sample of gardeners.

Strawberries in water prior to planting out

The gardeners received Strawberry Buddy and Strawberry Sweetheart again during March in order to test these spring planted strawberries against the ones planted out in the autumn.  The autumn-planted fruits have shown varying degrees of success around the country.  Largely they have overwintered well, but other gardeners in the group have found them to have drowned in the heavy rains we had over winter, or found them nibbled by hungry creatures.

Of the healthy plants – which form the majority – these will be tested against the spring planted versions for yield, time to crop from planting and duration of cropping season to see if they perform as well when planted 6 months later.  Many gardeners are already reporting that their autumn planted strawberries are in flower now, and that the spring plants are establishing well and growing on quickly.

Another packet of Broad Bean Aquadulce was also sent out for sowing to compare the crops with the autumn sown seed.  

Spring sown broad beans

By the end of March, many of the gardeners have raised some fine and healthy looking autumn-sown plants that are already in bloom before Spring had arrived.  The pictures below show some of the fabulously healthy looking plants in the care of our gardeners.  The mild winter has enabled this early blooming to some extent, but if there are enough pollinators around whilst these plants have been flowering away, there will be very early crops of broad beans for our gardeners to enjoy.  The mild weather in March has also enabled quite a few gardeners to germinate their spring sown broad beans pretty swiftly too.

By early April, some gardeners are starting to wonder if their autumn-sown plants have ‘run out of steam’.  And so the real test for the spring sown broad beans will be if they produce as heavy crops and with more certainty than the autumn grown seeds.  It seems clear that they certainly won’t be able to catch up and compete with the autumn grown plants in terms of ‘first to crop’, but maybe their growth will prove to be more assured.  Watch this space!

Broad beans sown in the autumn

New to the gardeners this month were three varieties of Tomato for growing outdoors.  Tomato Ferline, Tomato Sungold and Tomato Sakura were supplied as seed for sowing in March with the intention of growing these outside eventually.

March tomatoes for growing outdoors

The gardeners set to this task quickly, with some good germination rates being seen across the board. Whether the change in light and heat conditions in March versus February had an effect or not is not clear.  However, these March sown seeds went ‘leggy’ for some gardeners very quickly meaning they got potted on before the first true leaves had truly established themselves on the plants.   This has not had a detrimental effect on the plants though, with gardeners across the UK reporting some fine looking plants in their care.

The tomatoes supplied in February – Tomato Black Opal, Tomato Pink Charmer and Tomato Orange Slice – have got underway well  for most gardeners, though some reported difficulty in germinating them.  The best results seen were those that had an element of heat available for successful germination.  Intended for indoors growing only, these tomatoes will need more care than the March issued varieties.  This seems to be reflected in the relative ease of germination for the March varieties also, where a greater germination success rate was seen.

 

October through to February updates

The gardeners have been very busy in the last six months and so there is always something to report on.  Of note in March though, our gardeners have observed a number of things.  Here’s a whistle-stop tour of what’s been going on.

  • Potatoes breaking through the soilGeorgina in Cheshire, Gwynne in Morayshire and Max in Hertfordshire all got busy planting their potatoes out in early March.  Many gardeners have followed suit later in March and early April, with the first shoots pushing their way through the soil in patio planters and in the ground around the UK, such as this potato pictured in Ceredigion.
  • Our gardener in Bristol has potted on her salad leaves as individual plants with the intention of growing on outdoors.
  • Hannah in Guildford, Joanne in Suffolk, Lindsay in Devon and Mags in Renfrewshire have all planted out their autumn sown sweet peas in early April. However, it seems that this may have been too early as frosts came in Devon and Guildford shortly afterwards, so we shall have to see if they recover.
  • For many, the antirrhinums have been an unusual growing challenge.  Some of the seedlings collapsed totally for some gardeners whereas others, such as the ones being grown in Renfrewshire, are very well established if a little ‘leggy’ and seemingly on the point of collapse.  Our gardeners in Cheshire, Buckinghamshire, Devon, Pontpridd, Worcestershire and Suffolk have all managed to grow some specimens and so summer will be the real test for these new and exclusive variety of snapdragons by Mr Fothergill’s.Strawberries in bloom
  • The first broad beans sown in the autumn have set tiny beans in early April in Devon and there are flowers coming on the autumn planted strawberries for many gardeners such as these ones pictured in Pontypridd.
  • The bare root perennials planted in the autumn have started to come back to life in the last month. There are some casualties and there are some ‘missing in action’ plants.  Time will tell if these are truly lost or whether they are just being shy at presenting themselves.  The plants that are definitely starting to put in some spring growth are looking handsome and healthy – Astrantia, Papaver and Eryngiums are all performing well.  Perhaps most excitingly, the Cimicifugas have started to unfurl a leaf from the growing tips in the last few weeks for many of the gardeners who had previously doubted there was ever going to be a plant to see come Spring.  This plant has been very reticent to show any promise all winter and so it is with some excitement that the gardeners are greeting these small leaves.
  • February issued tomatoes grown from seedThe tomatoes issued in February, March and April all appear to be healthy so far and are at varying stages of development.  Mags in Renfrewshire appears to have grown some strong plants from seed leaving many other gardeners playing catch up.  In Derbyshire, the March sown seeds have overtaken the February sown seeds.  In Cheshire the gardener there has already planted to the outdoors.  With high levels of germination success, there are going to be bumper crops of 6 varieties of tomato in the gardens of our Nation of Gardeners this summer.

Keep an eye on the hashtag #nationofgardeners on Twitter for more updates as the gardeners post them, or follow the postings to the Facebook wall where you can also find a gallery of plant pictures that chronicle the Nation of Gardeners activities to date.

March 2014′s planting

February 2014′s planting

January 2014′s planting

December 2013′s planting

November 2013′s planting

October 2013′s planting

 

Nation of Gardeners results: Tomato Ferline seeds

April 22nd, 2014 | Nation of Gardeners, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Tomato Ferline F1Tomato Ferline F1  are a blight tolerant variety that produces superb quality standard sized fruit with a wonderful flavour.  Tolerance to blight, Fusarium and Verticillium, this is an indeterminate variety, for healthier crops outdoors or in a greenhouse.

Our Nation of Gardeners were asked to sow Tomato Ferline F1 in March 2014 for, predominantly, outdoor growing, thought the gardeners may also choose to grow some of their plants in a greenhouse if they wish. Mr Fothergill’s are looking for reports on yield and flavour, but also disease resistance if any of the gardeners previously have experienced problems with blight and other diseases this variety is bred for tolerance against.

The table below charts their progress.

Location Elevation Date planted Date first signs of growth Notes
Cheshire 49m 25 March 30 March Sown onto south facing windowsill at circa 20C. 12 out of 12 seeds germinated.
Renfrewshire 28m 22 March 27 March Sown into heated propagator. 11 out of 11 germinated.  15 March: Pricked out to larger pots.
North Devon 30-50m 15 March 24 March Sown indoors on east facing windowsill
Worcestershire 55m
Herefordshire 7 April Sown onto east facing windowsill
Cumbria 90m
Ceredigion 131m 19 March Sown indoors in north east facing position
Bristol 55m 23 March 31 March Sown into the conservatory
Suffolk 6m 19 March 29 March Sown into the greenhouse
Hertfordshire 150m 16 March 9 April South onto south facing windowsill.
Surrey 58m 20 March 25 March Sown into greenhouse in south west facing position
Pontypridd 157m 13 March 19 March Sown onto north facing windowsill at circa 18-21C.  100% germination 4 out of 4 – Got leggy very quick had to pot on, on 26/03/2014 and then put in outside cold frame
Buckinghamshire 66m 17 March 24 March 100% germination
Guildford 56m
Gloucestershire 74m 13 March 20 April Sown on south facing windowsill.
Moray 14 March 20 March 13 of 14 germinated.
Derbyshire 241m 15 March 20 March Sown into heated propagator in south facing room, circa 16-18C. 7 out of 10 germinated. 21 March: turned off heat and uncovered.  29 March: very leggy so potted on deep into individual pots. 1 April: True leaves visible. 22 April: plants are small but overtaking February sown varieties in height and span of foliage. Looking healthy and lushly green.

Nation of Gardeners results: Tomato Sakura seeds

April 22nd, 2014 | Nation of Gardeners, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Tomato SakuraTomato Cherry Sakura F1  are a high yielding tomato producing lots of cherry-sized fruits that hang in trusses on vigorous plants.  The plants produce sweet, delicious flavour fruits with a good red colour and texture. This variety has disease resistance to Tobacco Mosaic Virus and Fusarium oxysporum and is an indeterminate good for indoor and outdoor growing.

Our Nation of Gardeners were asked to sow Tomato Sakura F1 in March 2014 for, predominantly, outdoor growing, though the gardeners may also choose to grow some of their plants in a greenhouse if they wish. Mr Fothergill’s are looking for reports on yield and flavour, but also disease resistance if any of the gardeners previously have experienced problems with the diseases this variety is bred for tolerance against.

The table below charts their progress.

Location Elevation Date planted Date first signs of growth Notes
Cheshire 49m 25 March 30 March Sown onto north east facing windowsill at circa 20C. 5 out of 6 seeds germinated.
Renfrewshire 28m 22 March 26 March Sown into heated propagator. 9 out of 11 germinated.  15 March: Pricked out to larger pots.
North Devon 30-50m 15 March 24 March Sown indoors on east facing windowsill
Worcestershire 55m
Herefordshire 7 April Sown onto east facing windowsill
Cumbria 90m
Ceredigion 131m 19 March
Bristol 55m 23 March 31 March Sown into the conservatory
Suffolk 6m 19 March 29 March Sown into the greenhouse
Hertfordshire 150m 15 March 8 April Sown onto south facing windowsill.
Surrey 58m 20 March 25 March Sown into greenhouse in south west facing position
Pontypridd 157m 13 March 20 March Sown onto north facing windowsill at circa 18-21C.  75% germination 3 out of 4 – Got leggy very quick had to pot on, on 26/03/2014 and then put in outside cold frame
Buckinghamshire 66m 17 March 24 March 100% germination – these were the first of the 3 varieties to show.
Guildford 56m
Gloucestershire 74m 13 March 20 April Sown on south facing windowsill.
Moray 14 March 20 March 10 of 11 germinated
Derbyshire 241m 15 March 18 March Sown into heated propagator in south facing room, circa 16-18C. 9 out of 11 germinated.  21 March: turned off heat and uncovered.  29 March: very leggy so potted on deep into individual pots. 1 April: True leaves visible. 22 April: plants are small but overtaking February sown varieties in height and span of foliage. Looking healthy and lushly green.

Nation of Gardeners results: Tomato Sungold seeds

April 22nd, 2014 | Nation of Gardeners, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Tomato SungoldTomato Sungold F1  are a high yielding tomato producing lots of cherry-sized fruits that hang in trusses on vigorous plants.  The plants produce sweet, delicious flavour fruits with a good red colour and texture. This variety has disease resistance to Tobacco Mosaic Virus and Fusarium oxysporum and is an indeterminate good for indoor and outdoor growing.

Our Nation of Gardeners were asked to sow Tomato Sungold F1 in March 2014 for, predominantly, outdoor growing, though the gardeners may also choose to grow some of their plants in a greenhouse if they wish. Mr Fothergill’s are looking for reports on yield and flavour of this popular variety.

The table below charts their progress.

Location Elevation Date planted Date first signs of growth Notes
Cheshire 49m 25 March 30 March Sown onto north east facing windowsill at circa 20C. 7 out of 6 seeds germinated (two stuck together!!).
Renfrewshire 28m 22 March 27 March Sown into heated propagator. 11 out of 14 germinated.  15 March: Pricked out to larger pots.
North Devon 30-50m 15 March 24 March Sown indoors on east facing windowsill
Worcestershire 55m
Herefordshire 24 March 3 April Sown onto east facing windowsill
Cumbria 90m
Ceredigion 131m 19 March Sown indoors in north east facing position
Bristol 55m 23 March 31 March Sown into the conservatory
Suffolk 6m 19 March 29 March Sown into the greenhouse
Hertfordshire 150m 17 March 8 April Sown onto south facing windowsill.
Surrey 58m 20 March 25 March Sown into greenhouse in south west facing position
Pontypridd 157m 13 March 19 March Sown onto north facing windowsill at circa 18-21C.  100% germination 4 out of 4 – Got leggy very quick had to pot on, on 26/03/2014 and then put in outside cold frame
Buckinghamshire 66m 17 March 24 March 100% germination.
Guildford 56m
Gloucestershire 74m 13 March 22 April Sown on south facing windowsill.
Moray 14 March 20 March 6 of 10 remaining
Derbyshire 241m 15 March 18 March Sown into heated propagator in south facing room, circa 16-18C. 10 out of 10 germinated.  21 March: turned off heat and uncovered.  29 March: very leggy so potted on deep into individual pots. 1 April: True leaves visible. 22 April: plants are small but overtaking February sown varieties in height and span of foliage. Looking healthy and lushly green.