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Sunday, 16 September 2012

Tomatoes and the psychology of smoking cessation

A friend was recently telling me about some research done on slimming and smoking cessation that showed that if  people got  an early "win" of some kind, they were more likely to continue (slimming, cessation, etc)

This is just like me and growing tomatoes. I first grew them in 2003, the summer was very hot and sunny and I got a magnificent early and long lasting crop. I've been trying to repeat the success every year since.

  Some of the plants in subsequent years were small and weedy possibly due to my poor sandy soil. Then, last autumn, I dug out an exhausted raspberry bed,  gave it plenty of manure, visited the physiotherapist several times and planted tomatoes in the spring. I got some really leafy plants that tried to take over the garden but the fruit is very late and sparse. It's been a dull wet and not especially warm summer which may be part of the reason.
Sprawling plants on rich soil but fruit is green

Some of the crop, I planted out in an ordinary bed that had just had a bucket of garden compost
Grown on moderate soil, weak plants but ripening fruit
As you can see, somewhat manky plants but fruit that's got on and ripened. The optimum may be moderately well prepared soil - the old raspberry bed really was made into something special. I still think the weather has a lot to answer for though.

Now, in the past, I've made chutney out of green tomatoes but I wondered if I could force some ripening out of the plants? So I removed the supporting bamboo poles, cut the plants down a bit and shoved a cloche on. We'll see!
After some drastic pruning
As for next year, the tomatoes are destined for the 2012 beans bed that had some preparation and did well. Also going to try over wintering some broad beans in the rich bed. It's by a west facing wall - a great anti-frost pocket.

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