6/14: the first tomato

The first tomato has ripened, just in time for our return from our NZ cruise, which you can read all about if you click on Travels with Princess and Quiquinou on the princessprattles header. Thanks to our house and cat-sitters, my sister and brother-in-law, the garden has been kept watered during Melbourne’s extreme heatwave.

the first tomato for 2014

There is nothing like a fresh home-grown tomato!

6/52: there’s nothing like a homegrown tomato

Something truly wonderful and satisfying is walking out into the garden and picking fruit and/or vegetables for the kitchen.

My home-grown tomatoes are certified chemical-free by me, as I know exactly how I have treated them. Fresh produce is a delight. What is even more amazing about this first tomato of the season is that it was from the rogue tomato plant, which just appeared in a pot in the garden, as if by magic.

rogue tomatoes ready to harvest first tomato of the season  Funny how you can spend money on seeds or seedlings, and the plant that does the best was free! I don’t mind, and have accepted this plant graciously, along with the fruit it has produced.

Unfortunately, birds have attacked a few tomatoes. The first one looked beautiful from one side, while the reverse had been virtually eaten out. I shared enough of the plums with the birds, so now I am picking them as they start to blush, and ripening them inside to ensure the greatest rate of success.

looks ready to pick

the reverse side of the one that was ready to pick

I really enjoyed that first tomato of the season, and look forward to plenty more.

a tasty treat

4/52: the race of the rogue tomatoes

Interestingly, the rogue tomatoes that have sprung up seem to be doing better than the seedlings that I bought and planted. Perhaps a seed that nestles itself into the ground with no human help has Mother Nature on its side?

In any case, I am looking forward to these tomatoes ripening into fine specimens.

rogue tomatoes rogue tomatoes looking good

331/366: rogue plants strike again!

Recently I did some serial planting in front of the rosemary bush, in which I planted some leafy green variegated plants and rosemary cuttings.

Suddenly there are rogue plants amongst them. I won’t get too excited, because last time this happened nothing actually eventuated. However, there was that one time years ago when I was very successful with a rogue pumpkin vine. I’d love that experience to be repeated. One can only hope.

323/366: playing for high stakes

I was not playing for poker stakes, but tomato stakes. I decided to plant out all the tomatoes I had in pots in one section of the garden.

When I was at Bunnings I asked a man who had a big trolley of potting mix and other assorted gardening paraphernalia, which he would recommend for tomatoes.

Coincidentally, he just happened to be a horticulturist, so I was happy to take his advice and purchase the organic mix he recommended. He also suggested buying some Thrive for later fertilising, due to the correct balance of nutrients. I’m still learning about the ratios of nitrogen, potassium and the other thing.

The more you learn about any subject, the more you realise how little you actually know.

71/366: the penultimate tomato

It was with some sadness I picked the last two tomatoes from the vine. Not a great crop this year, I relished eating the second-last tomato sliced onto half a wholemeal toasted muffin with some tasty cheese and baby spinach leaves.

Kindly, I left the final tomato for my husband, as some consolation for his plant still having produced no tomatoes whatsoever. In the end he decided that I may as well eat that last tomato as well, so I did.

60/366: where has all the coriander gone?

My coriander quest (from day 31 /366) has failed big-time. I had been warned that during summer the coriander seedlings might bolt to seed, but they just totally disappeared.

And what about the tomato plants I was so excited about? This appears to have been the worst season for tomatoes that I have ever known. Mind you, my experience there is limited.Aha! Perhaps the coriander seedlings ran away with the tomato flowers and they have eloped. I wonder if they have created a new breed – perhaps a corimato, which would be a fleshy red tomato with a coriander flavour, which could be very nice in a salad?

Now I have a theory about the tomatoes. Because some pumpkin seeds must have been in the compost that I used for part of the potting up of the tomatoes, all the tomato pots ended up sprouting pumpkin seedlings, so perhaps this took away some of the nourishment required for the tomatoes? Not enough sun? Too much water? Too little water? Who knows? The only thing that keeps me going is that I won the tomato competition (day 6/366), and my husband’s tomato still hasn’t fruited!


17/366: first cherry tomato

I was looking forward to picking the first cherry tomato of the season, and today was that day. Bite-size tomatoes can be great in a salad or even as a little snack – much better for you than lollies or chocolate.

There are two tomato plants in the same pot, and I noticed when I was weeding the pot there is a new baby one. You might notice there appears to be another pumpkin seedling. I used some of my composted soil which could explain that. Maybe I could plant it out?

Apologies for this slightly out of focus shot, but I can’t take another one, because as soon as I had taken the shot and looked at it on the camera, I ate it! So no repeat attempts at that particular photo. It was yummy by the way, sweet and juicy. Because the tomato is (was) tiny, I am inserting it as a thumbnail picture.

I look forward to a bumper crop of these mini delights.

7/366: tomato taste test

Having ripened for another day, I decided it was time for the taste test. There is something so magical about eating produce hand-picked from one’s garden. Fresher than that is impossible.

Using my gorgeous knife that I bought as a souvenir in France a couple of years ago, I sliced the tomato up, ready for some waiting crackers and cheese.

With the addition of a little salt and pepper, the snack was ready for feasting. Though I can’t really take much credit for the flavour, the resultant opinion: a unanimous “delicious.”