One of my favourite things in life is learning new things. It is when I feel my most alive, when I feel my eyes are widest and the world seems, more amazing somehow. I expect there is a percentage of folks out there to whom things come easily, gifted folks who are “naturals” at certain things. I am not one of them.
Learning is rarely straight forward and most times I find myself excited, confused and exhausted all at the same time. I also fail, a lot. I’m not bragging that I’ve gotten things wrong, I certainly never set out with a mindset of anything other than success, it’s just the way I learn best. Over the last four decades I’ve come to accept that this is how things go. I’ll happily tell you I am bound to make every mistake acquiring a new skill might entail, but so long as I am not repeating those mistakes and getting stuck, then in my mind at least, it’s a win.
With that in mind, so far in 2017 there has been a lot of learning along side some marginal gains. Our first succession sowing of heirloom and heritage beans are off to an amazing start, the tomatoes are tentatively stretching up out of the seedling soils and the sap collection from our Birch is in the final quarter of what might be the shortest season on record! The same unusually high temperatures that are helping the seedlings yawn to life has also put the bushes and trees into overdrive and “bud burst” is just around the corner. I’m guessing we’ll start seeing leaves in 48 to 72hrs. I love this time of year, the rush of life and sense of urgency in the awakening of things. Conversely, it also means our new venture into Birch Syrup is at risk of being cut short this year which will probably mean more trials next year!
A month ago myself and several volunteers helped plant hundreds of Tumbling Tom and Golden Queen tomato seeds at Organic Lea. They will be both for the summer production on site and for the annual plant sales. For anyone who has ever eaten a perfectly ripe home grown tomato, it will come as no surprise that tomatoes are by far the most popular plants for home gardens in the UK.
These tomatoes have a bluish tinge to their leaves indicating they’ve depleted the nutrients in their potting soil.
The month old seedlings have really thrived in the three week warm spell we’ve been having and it was evident by the blueish tinge on their leaves that the nutrient in the seed compost was exhausted. It’s too early to put them in the ground, so potting on, into more nutrient rich potting compost was the only option. In order to avoid “leggy plants” each seedling is planted into the soil up to the first pair of leaves.
There’s really no excuse not to grow at least one tomato plant. Perhaps more than any other, tomatoes have a wealth of varieties to suit your available space, even a height restricted roof garden like mine has more than one option.
For three years now, I’ve planted heritage dwarf variety Tiny Tim (which grows to 30cm) and had exceptional results. They’ve got some lovely attributes aside from their stature. Firstly, for a tomato they’re remarkably un- fussy. These hardy plants do well in both sun and shade which works well since I am on the move. Secondly, despite their small size they really pack a huge sweet tomato flavour punch, meaning four or five picked and thrown into any dish makes an impact.
This year, just to try something different I’m planting Tumbling Toms from the plant sales.
Regardless of which variety you choose, your plant’s fruit will have flavours that far surpass their store bought brethren. With tomatoes we’re spoilt for choice and justly rewarded.
*This article was originally published on a fabulous website called EatinsCanada.