This year we decided to go with the Sioux heirloom tomatoes again. I have talked about the Sioux variety before when discussing the tastiest tomatoes available. You can read all about why they are considered to be the tastiest tomatoes and who actually suggested to me that Sioux tomatoes are the tastiest via the link above.
This year I tried a little experiment with respect to what makes the best seeding compost. I have used specialist compounds before from local garden centers and yes they work fine, but they can sometimes be a little expensive. So as I had plenty of seeds I thought it would be worth a try with my own compost. Basically I just layer my garden waste and cuttings in a big old wooden frame and mix in, nettles, grass cuttings, dead leaves and anything else that becomes available through routine maintenance in the garden, the exception being perennial weeds. You can of course pile your kitchen waste in there as well, I don’t actually because it is quite a long way from the kitchen to our large compost frame, so we keep a small plastic one a little nearer for that job, just for convenience really. It’s the same principle of layering different types of garden & kitchen waste (wet and dry) just on a smaller scale.
Once the compost is well rotted and crumbly you know it is ready to go. Because I was going to use it as a ‘seed compost’ I decided to riddle it and take out any big pieces. You can do that with any garden riddle or sifter, they cost a little bit but last for years and they are an essential garden tool. The benefit of course is that you end up with a nice fine compost that, provided you have allowed it to rot down completely, will provide a rich source of nutrients to your young plants as they grow.
Anyway this worked really well, after a false start that is where I committed the cardinal sin of allowing an overnight freeze to take care of my first batch. Yes I did get caught out, there was a sudden dip in temperature and I paid a high price for not taking more care.
The second batch fared much better and one or two neighbors also benefited from the spare plants I had which were surplus to requirements. So you can probably see from the photo that we are now due to pinch out any suckers and do a little bit of pruning to keep the plants under control. We are also starting to see our first signs of fruit and plenty of blossom.
So things are starting to get exciting, even if everything is a little late this year. The false start didn’t help that situation and generally this has been the slowest start to summer we have had for years. Nothing you can do about the weather unfortunately, you just have to ride with it. But on the positive side, the plants are looking really good and there is a good chance that our summer will extend throughout September and perhaps even into the start of October. So bascially no need to panic and if summer does come to a premature conclusion, we love making green tomato chutney and with our Sioux tomatoes it will be tastier than ever.