The long awaited…Tomato trial results!!!

Well it’s been a long time coming, apologies for that, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, hope you all had a great Easter…told you it was a long time coming…anyway here are the results. Drum roll please!!!

And what a mixed bag of results I have for you. Unfortunately, we were hit by what I think was blight, but maybe not, so I had an emergency harvest of lots of green tomatoes.

But regardless of this I can happily give you some definitive results.

The seed grown plant, Ali, produced a fair crop but it has to be said that the grafted plant, Ele, produced a bumper crop.

I picked the first ripe fruits of each plant on 23rd August. Ele produced a tomato weighing in at 49g and Ali produced a tomato weighing 21g.
Ali’s smaller fruit was lovely and sweet. Ele’s larger fruit, I thought had less flavour. My husband described it as watery but I would of said more tart, less sweet.

1st fruits

1st fruits

1st fruits

A few ripe fruits here and there. I was very much enjoying the fresh flavours of a regular serving of tomatoes with mozzarella and basil infusion olive oil throughout the summer. Yum!!

fresh garden tomato salad

fresh garden tomato salad

Sizes of fruits from both plants varied some smaller than others but neither plant really developing larger fruit than the other. I’ve used a pound coin token as the size reference in the photos.

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tomato size comparison

tomato size comparison

Then, Ele started to develop larger fruit.

Ele's larger one.

Ele’s larger one.

I was waiting for the fruit to ripen but, unfortunately, in mid September the plants were hit by what I believe was blight which wiped out my other tomato plants in other beds so I picked all the unaffected fruit off the plants. I believe I lost a third of the crop from each plant.

blighted crop

blighted crop

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blight stricken tomatoes

blight stricken tomatoes

Based on the amount that was harvested, you can see that Ele was well on her way to producing a bumper crop as I harvested a bucket full of fruit opposed to Ali’s smaller harvest. I would estimate that Ele (grafted plant) produced 50% more fruit than Ali (seed grown plant).

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salvaged crop

salvaged crop

But to turn a bad situation into a positive I now know how easy it is to make green tomato chutney and how utterly yummy it is. I have included the recipe I used at the bottom of this post from a book called ‘Using the Plot’ by Paul Merrett, lent to me by a friend. Paul if you’re out there I’d love a copy!! (desperate plea over)

green tomato chutney

green tomato chutney

So to summarise, the grafted plant was a beast and next time I will plant them in deeper pots (I have since found out that this is recommended) and use stronger supports, but by golly they do produce a lot more fruit than the seed grown plants. There is a cost implication to consider, as the grafted plants would be more of an investment, but if I can grow fewer plants and get the same amount of fruit then for me that is a real bonus. I have an average house plot and by growing more productive plants in a smaller area I can then use the other space to grow a larger variety of vegetables.

And to put my money where my mouth is I, indeed, visited Huntingdon Garden and Leisure Centre over the Bank holiday weekend and purchased 2 grafted plants at £4.99 each. I’ve gone with a Beefsteak variety – F1 belriccio and a Plum variety – F1 giulietta. The labels say ‘produce up to 75% more fruit’ which in the right growing conditions I would believe.

newly purchased grafted tomato plants

newly purchased grafted tomato plants

grafted 2

I do have to confess I have also planted some seeds and plan to use them as a slower follow-on crop, if they take and survive by amateur gardening techniques. Well that’s the plan…I’ll keep you posted.

Just a quick thank you to Huntingdon Garden and Leisure Centre for giving me the opportunity to conduct this trial. I’m a convert to grafted and would recommend others to give them a go!!

Recipe as promised. (Hope Paul Merrett doesn’t mind me sharing it from his fab book ‘Using the Plot’)

green tomato chutney recipe

green tomato chutney recipe

The trial continues…

For those of you who aren’t aware please let me explain.  I am conducting a trial on behalf of Huntingdon Garden and Leisure Centre.

The trial is to compare a seed grown tomato plant to a grafted plant. If you look back at previous posts you will see the progress that came before this post.

Today’s post sees both plants developing fruit but as you can see the grafted plant, we call her Ele, is weighed down with an abundance to the point she has needed to be given a crutch support.
Ele - grafted
Now I’m sure there is something I could of done to help the plant more than I have. But I found the bottom of the plant stem thinner than the upper stem and it didn’t seem to be able to support itself. Especially with the shallow depth of the grow bag. I have been very worried about it breaking in the windy weather.

Ali, the seed grown plant, is more dainty but bearing her fair share of fruit.
Ali - seed grown

Ele fruit.
Ele fruit 1

Ele - fruit 2

Ali fruit
Ali fruit

I will be doing a survey of the fruit produced by each plant.
Both plants have ripening fruit and I’m hoping to pick a tomato off both plants this week for a side by side tasting. Stay tuned!

Raised veg bed created for free

Thought you might like to see my raised veg bed created all for free.

Raised veg bed
Wood frame- wood came from the roof trusses of my neighbour’s garage that they had taken down to build an extension. Expertly constructed by my handy hubby.

Soil – came from Freecycle. A lovely man had removed it from his mother’s garden to lay a base for her new shed. It needed some sorting to take out various bits & pieces but didn’t take me long.

And the plants came as excess from my father-in-laws allotment.

The net cage was part of my birthday present from hubby & my 5yo daughter.

I’m very happy with the finished product.

Princess Knight in shining armour.

Today was Medieval Banquet day at my 5yos school to round off their topic of castles etc.  My 5yo and I spent 2 hours last night making her outfit.

All I purchased for it was – 57p roll of tin foil.

We had cardboard (old moving boxes), sticky tape, staples and crafty bits for decorating and sword all at home already.

She did the decoration herself. So proud she was excited about us making it and she thought it was brilliant!

Shining Armour

Tomato plant trial – Grafted versus seed grown

Ali & Ele -size comparison

Ali & Ele -size comparison


Well it’s plain to see Ele (grafted plant – left of image) has become a bit of a monster and Ali (seed grown plant) is certainly the “little” sister BUT “as they say” size isn’t everything because there is an interesting development when it comes to flowers on the trusses!

As of the 30th June, Ele, the grafted plant, has developed 5 trusses with between 8-11 flowers per truss.

Ele's truss

Ele’s truss


Whereas Ali, the seed grown plant, has developed 3 trusses so far but has approx 24 flowers per truss.
Ali's truss

Ali’s truss

Ali’s trusses seem to be double stemmed (forked) and so has double the flowers that Ele has on her single stemmed truss. So if both plants successfully develop their flowers into fruit it would appear that Ali will have more fruit. Very interesting turn of events considering the monster of a plant that Ele has become when compared to Ali.

Now, as I am no expert, I don’t know if this development is a feature of the type of tomato plant but maybe Huntingdon Garden and Leisure can comment on that for us.

I’ll keep you posted on this interesting development.

Homemade necklace

My lovely 5yo daughter made me this beautiful necklace for my birthday.  The look of pride on her face when I have been wearing it and telling people she made it for me is worth more than diamonds.

I love it!

Handmade necklace

Handmade necklace