GARDENING; Late tomatoes pass the taste test

A DAY'S PICKINGS: Multicoloured bowls of red, orange, brown, pink and black cherry tomatoes.

A DAY'S PICKINGS: Multicoloured bowls of red, orange, brown, pink and black cherry tomatoes.

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ALTHOUGH a little late, the tomatoes are delivering on a daily basis.

Top of the class is Orange Paruche, both in quantity and taste - the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity in a small cherry - I heartily recommend it. It’s even better than Sungold.

FIRST FRUIT: The greenhouse is cooler than the conservatory, so ripening's been slower there.

FIRST FRUIT: The greenhouse is cooler than the conservatory, so ripening's been slower there.

All the plants are producing now - Rosella, the dark cherry, is another with superb taste - and Pink Charmer and Black Opal, not as zingy, but indispensable for an interesting salad.

Poor old Gardener’s Delight is last in the taste tests - it’s still much better than shop-bought tomatoes, and reliable.

It is producing much bigger fruit, as expected, growing it in the one-truss trial (nipping out, or stopping the growing tips of plants after one truss has formed – they should develop larger, earlier crops).

I did expect the one-truss tomatoes to be over and done with by now, but the poor light levels and low temperatures of this month have certainly slowed all growth.

Orange Paruche is the perfect cherry tomato.

Orange Paruche is the perfect cherry tomato.

In the greenhouse, the cordons have started to produce too, which hopefully means I’ll have an extension to the season, as these were the last to start ripening.

This year’s problem - aphids. I’m trying not to get too stressed about it as I have in previous years, and am not spraying.

The removal of the bottom leaves certainly helps (you do this to direct the plant’s energy into producing fruit).

The plants aren’t suffering and I’ve developed a ‘buffer zone’ to protect my new banana plants from infestation.

I also subscribe to the “treat them mean and keep them keen” ethos when watering - a couple of good soaks a week, and once-weekly feeding with a high-potash liquid fertiliser.

• You can read more of Mandy’s gardening writing at her website www.mandycanudigit HERE.