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London-friendly tomato varieties sought

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  • London-friendly tomato varieties sought

    I have a son who works with the London Freedom Seed Bank who is trialling one or two tomato varieties for growing in small London gardens or allotments (the allotments are small too in London).

    He asked me if I might rack your brains for any variety which would like these conditions, ie warm micro-climate, usually sheltered but at best 4-5 hours of sunlight because of building shading in built-up areas. He’s so far found only Galina and Chocolate Cherry to perform well in his conditions in terms of flavour and productivity, having rejected Sungold because of its F1 status (I’m working on dehybridising Sungold but it needs a few more years). As many Londoners have very restricted space and grow only perhaps four or five plants, they really have to earn their keep.

    Any thoughts?

  • #2
    Might be worth looking into the Dwarf Tomato Project varieties. They were bred with urban spaces in mind - doing well in pots and not needing pruning, growing to 4-5ft max.
    I can't comment on their shade tolerance, even though I live with a heavily shaded courtyard I grow my tomatoes at the allotment. But because they aren't constantly spending energy on vining up they might be more tolerant than most.

    Comment


    • Galina
      Galina commented
      Editing a comment
      Stupice and Red Alert might also fit the bill.

    • Jang
      Jang commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the pointer to this project which I enjoyed reading about and has a very interesting history. And thanks for the Dwarf Sweet Sue through the A4A seed circle which I think you donated. I’m passing on some seed of that for him to try.
      In your experience are they fairly upright in growth, ie. not much sideways spread? Or is the growth partially bush-like and partially cordon? I imagine if there’s no side shoot removal, they must be fairly bushy?

    • Jang
      Jang commented
      Editing a comment
      Galina commented
      07-02-2020, 23:15
      Stupice and Red Alert might also fit the bill.
      Interesting. Are you thinking of these because they’re quite compact or because they would cope with some shading?

  • #3
    A difficult one, if the sunlight is primetime daylight then it's more useful. I've no idea, but if going for a cherry type I would aim at the British bred varieties like Black Opal, Sweet Aperitif, Rosella, Garnet or Bite Size are names that spring to mind. They are all cordon, OP and bred for our climate, great-tasting and good croppers.

    Has he room to trial several varieties? I wonder about some of the bush or trailing types or whether these would be too bulky for small spaces?

    Comment


    • #4
      Thanks very much for the suggestions which I’ve passed on and which have been interesting and thought-provoking for both him and me - as well as the interesting suggestions on the Paul Robeson thread.
      His London garden is petite and carefully managed and he would like to grow his tested and trusted varieties, Galina and Black Cherry, alongside three or four new ones for trialling.
      in fact, height is no real problem so cordon is fine. Horizontal space is what is really at a premium so I think bush or trailing would suit less well.
      But lots of food for thought here, and also the selection from the A4A circle has yielded one or two interesting possibilities.

      Comment


      • #5
        This sounds an interesting trail, I hope he finds some more keepers this year. Keep us updated to progress, it will be interesting to hear how the varieties compare.

        Comment


        • #6
          Jang, you're correct, it's advised not to remove the side shoots - however, I didn't find them to be particularly bushy. What comes to mind is 'tree-like'. They're well-behaved.

          Yes Dwarf Sweet Sue was a good little plant. I also grew other dwarfs but their labels faded and their fruit was quite similar in appearance, so until I grow out the new seed with the stockseed I can't identify them. I have an inkling of what they are though, so if you'd like to try New Big Dwarf, 'probably Tasmanian Chocolate' and 'probably Uluru Ochre' just let me know.

          I also included Black Beauty in the circle, which isn't a dwarf, but is certainly much stouter than most.

          Where I get a lot of my seed https://www.vertiloom.com/en/tomatoe...t-size/dwarfs/

          A good video for size reference https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVzPjnqzPm4

          Comment


          • Jang
            Jang commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks for the Vertiloom link. What a great selection of tomatoes and full, helpful information on growing habit etc too. I’ve browsed with great interest.
            You other dwarfs sound alluring but I think I’d better resist for this season as I already have more new varieties than I can sensibly manage! Thanks for the offer though. I’ll also look forward to seeing how Black Beauty performs.
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