Edible garden: Going red

By Janice Marriott

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The recipe for growing great tomatoes is a simple one, writes Janice Marriott.

Ensure you have rich soil for juicy, plump tomatoes this season. Photo / Thinkstock
Ensure you have rich soil for juicy, plump tomatoes this season. Photo / Thinkstock

Bristol plants and Seeds has 200 heirloom tomato varieties in its online catalogue. It makes interesting reading.

Why, I wonder, is Black Elephant a small red tomato? Although I like the idea of Cherokee Chocolate tomatoes, I will pass on Bloody Butcher. If you have Hobbity friends, maybe packets of Brandywine tomato seeds would be the perfect Christmas present? Or not.

Here are a few hints to ensure your tomatoes flourish. Tomatoes like rich soil, secure stakes and regular watering. There's a rumour doing the rounds that we should put jellymeat into the planting hole. I don't think so - I'd go for blood and bone, sheep pellets, potash or a tomato fertiliser.

Don't water the leaves, as this promotes disease. Instead, water the soil around the stem. Grafted plants grow the tallest, so put them at the back of the plot, and never bury the graft. Seed categorised as "determinate" tends to fruit at the same time. "Indeterminate" varieties fruit over a longer period.

Why do the tomatoes I'm growing this year all seem to be named by accountants - Moneymaker and Mortgage Lifter, for example?

- NZ Herald

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