Thursday, 8 September 2011

Mists and mellow fruitfulness...

Or not-so-fruitful-ness, as the case may be...  It is quite misty today, and there are distinct signs of autumn foliage appearing, but fruitful is one thing this year ain't.

So far this summer I've had a good crop of beans, some rather wambly Swiss chard, and about eight tomatoes from the garden.  Of the eleven tomato vines I planted, two succumbed to blight a couple of weeks ago without ever producing a single fruit, three more now appear to be going down with blight, with fruits at no more than pinhead-size, four are producing a small number of very green, undersized fruits that by the looks of them ought to be swelling into big Marmande types (but aren't, because of the weather), and two are bearing, albeit only modestly.  

The two that are bearing are producing a bland, golf-ball-sized tomato like something from a bad supermarket.  I bought the plants from someone at work who thought they were a yellow cherry tom; sorry, Class 47 Student, wrong tom. 

The four that are attempting to make tomatoes were a gift from The Crazy Intern; she wasn't sure what variety they were, as she'd had a label-mix-up at the seed sowing stage.  Hi, TCI - by the looks of it they're a slow and deliberate cousin of Marmande.  I doubt if they'll produce anything before October, though.

The ones that died, and their sibs that are possibly also dying, are in theory Sweet Millions, a favourite of mine, but they look nothing like it.  SM usually makes a thick vine that splits into two or more stems very early on, has rather sparse foliage, and produces prolifically, with long racemes of forty or more delicious, scarlet cherry toms per raceme.  What I have got are lanky, sickly, one-stemmed vines with big, potato-like foliage and a few tiny clusters of flowers, growing in bunches rather than SM's usual slender, necklace-like racemes.  I'm not sure I would want to eat the fruits even if they did produce any, they look so odd.

So I am not a happy veg gardener this autumn.  And as I'm going away for a week from Sunday, I'm going to scrap the sick vines altogether before I go, in the hope of salvaging something from the others when I get back.  There may not even be enough to make green tomato chutney...

Still, Jane gave me a huge bag of apples from her garden, and they are superb.  If nothing else, it seems to be an apple year.

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