Tomatoes (plus a little DIY and writing) rule my life

Now that the DIY on our two rotten windowsills, after much resin filler and elbow-grease, is nearing completion, I can concentrate on my writing…

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Except that last year my new greenhouse was a pitiful desert. All I managed to grow were three sweet peppers (on one plant). Everything else got fried or damped off as I was ignorant about managing the ventilation. So this spring, I sowed madly… perhaps a little too madly. I was miffed when tomatoes failed to germinate, so I sowed more. Various seedlings got potted on and moved into the garden and veg plot, but new tomato seedlings – unlabelled – kept popping up in unlikely places.

Apart from three pepper plants, tomatoes now rule the greenhouse and my life. There are more than 34 plants. The greenhouse ones need constant  water, and ventilation and they all need non-stop disbudding (a skill I have acquired late in life, but will lead, I am assured, to more tomatoes and less greenery).

DSCN8100DSCN8099 DSCN8097 DSCN8095 DSCN8088 And the hosta, of course, just keeps on growing. DSCN8024I am still writing, and I have exciting news on the POW letters book front, but I will wait for tangible confirmation before sharing it.

 

45 thoughts on “Tomatoes (plus a little DIY and writing) rule my life

  1. Ah..tomatoes! My favorite fruit! And if they are prolific, then you will need time and energy to figure our what to do with them…..gifting friends and neighbors….canning….chutney….steamy kitchen work during the dog days….

    • Mine too. I can’t believe we will have more than we can eat, considering how much we buy each week. I’ve read that you can just bag them up and fling them in the freezer and when you take them out they are ready peeled for the pot! We shall see… kitchen work is not on my agenda.

    • The simplest solution to lots of tomatoes is to make your own tomato passata, Hilary! It’s easy to do and will leave you with bottles and bottles of delicious home-made base for pasta sauces, casseroles, all sorts of things! We only made 25 bottles last summer, but we’re all set up to do bulk bottling now and are planning on making HEAPS next season 🙂

  2. Our garden is screaming out for water. We have a hosta in flower and the lavenders are gorgeous. But yes , we have no tomatoes, the birds have eaten all the cherries and I am trying to weigh up whether to pick the apples or risk them going to the local wildlife invaders too. Should I get a greenhouse? Do they give a decent RoI?

    • The birds got our exposed cherries and the earwigs got the ones I bagged. We don’t have your scale of invaders, so our apples are safe. I’d have thought your’s would be fine too unless the fruit is all low level. Greenhouse, hmm, as a novice, I’m not really the person to advise on RoI. I’ll tell you more when we are eating ripe tomatoes. Ours is the most basic cold greenhouse. If you do get one, then pay for automatic watering, heating and ventilation systems, so that you are not on duty every hour of a sunny day or freezing night.

  3. I love the thought of your grumpily sowing more tomato seeds and then finding yourself almost grown out by the resultant burgeoning, Hilary ! 🙂
    I look forward to photos of their bounty, mind …

    • The joke is definitely on me. I recently transplanted my leeks, adding some home-made compost – little rows of seedling tomatoes have now sprung up between the leeks! The instant one of those little green globes turns red will post it (on the blog).

      • One holiday, during a heatwave, I worked in the Customer Services department of M & S. People posted back to us the chickens they had bought that had gone off! I recommend the photographic alternative.

  4. You might have to get a pizza oven, Hilary! You can dry the flood of tomatoes, dunk them in oil and herbs, bottle them and you ‘ll be having lovely tomaties for years to come. We still have bottled tomatoes from our farm-days more than six years ago.

  5. Loved seeing your bountiful garden photos Hilary. A favourite of mine is the hosta, so luscious and green. Yes, the de-budding is time consuming, but worth it! Look forward to hearing more about your POW letters and book.

  6. I bet your greenhouse smells wonderful. I love tomatoes but have never tried growing my own. Do you live in the sort of place where you could sell some at the end of your driveway? My sister puts jars of jam and plants for sale at the end of her drive and she’s sold quite a bit. She lives on a quiet country road, though, the sort of place people expect to find that kind of thing.

    • Yes, the smell reminds me of my granddad’s greenhouse. I could indeed put some in the drive to sell, or even give away. At the moment we are planning to eat them all, but we may falter if they produce as much as they promise.

    • I didn’t show the ones in my veg patch as they don’t look so vigorous either. I guess that’s why people have greenhouses. It’s only taken me thirty years to find out about disbudding (but it really makes a difference).

  7. I look forward to your news about the book.
    As for gardens, we have had so much rain this summer everything keeps growing,
    but the privet has produced its usual array of flowers and if i could bottle the smell I would.

    • We’ve had such a shortage of rain… until today when t has rained non-stop… that everything has fried and I spend my life among the hoses and watering cans.
      I must sit on book news until things are in writing, could be a few weeks.

  8. We have tomatoes on the deck (hot deck, verdant tomatoes) but in the garden – gave up and went with all perennials. No edibles, but at least it’s pretty! 🙂 Your greenhouse is so impressive.
    Good luck with the good news.

    • Good luck with your tomatoes. Our garden is mostly flowers and shrubs too, but since I retired I have tried to grow veg as well. Tomatoes have been poor outside, but with the new greenhouse (long and thin to fit an awkward space on the side of the house) I am very hopeful.

  9. Your new window is even more impressive than the hosta and the tomatoes.
    We’ve had a mostly cool summer, but a serious drought so hills and lawns are turning brown. Being clever, I’ve no lawn but planted mostly tolerant natives – except I can’t do without my summer roses. Today we had a heat wave however topping over 100 degrees F ( this is ~ 38 degrees Celsius) and when I went outside this evening the flowers had literally fried!

    • Thank you – the windows were hours of work, but I enjoy looking after our old house myself when I can. England’s mild climate has changed. We had a five-day heat wave too (and fried roses), combined with a prolonged often sunless drought and brown lawns. This last week we have had continuous rain and very little sun. Keeping plants and animals happy gets trickier every year.

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