I recently remembered a nifty trick from my childhood in Australia. Take a small fruit drink in a box, the type you stick a little straw into (we called them a fruit box), and pop it into the freezer. Easy peasy! Once frozen you can either rip the top off (you’ll need scissors-they’re tough little suckers) and eat as ice lolly or stick in lunch box. Keeps things cool till lunch and will melt in time for you to have a cool drink as well.
Healthy Lunch – Salad leaves and chive flowers from my garden. Drizzled with homemade basil infused olive oil. Digging in!!
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.
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!!
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.
Then, Ele started to develop larger fruit.
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.<
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).
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)
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.
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’)
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.
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.
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!
Thought you might like to see my raised veg bed created all for free.
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.
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!
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.
Whereas Ali, the seed grown plant, has developed 3 trusses so far but has approx 24 flowers per 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.