Saturday 4 October 2014


It's a cool, gloomy, damp morning and I'm wondering if rain is due.  I think we could do with a downpour but after yesterday's glorious sunshine it would be a shame if the weekend was wet.

The tomatoes are still coming in.  The accidental tomatoes (the hundreds and thousands I didn't plant but which came up from last year's seeds) are now producing: not at a great rate but several per day.  They're so small that it takes several to be the equivalent of one normal sized one.  The beef tomatoes (accidental in another way in that they were given to me and I thought they were a different kind) have also decided to get their act together and are ripening fast.  I smile happily each time I pick a few - free is great!

Each day this week I have wobbled my way out to pick any ripening tomatoes (which proves it was not flu I've had) and with today's load I must make some more tomato sauce for the freezer.  I've enough to keep me going for a while now.

I have to admit that, with blight warnings coming daily from Blightwatch, I'm picking not-completely-ripe tomatoes and finishing them off on the window ledge to avoid going out one morning and finding tomatoes I could have picked yesterday all stinky-slimy brown.  I have no idea if this would really be so as the only time I've been unlucky enough to be badly blighted it was slower early onset blight, but one hears horror stories!  However, I do have a window ledge full of ripe ones as well as the not-yet-ripe ones, mostly large beef tomatoes, so another roasting is on the cards for today.

I'm still contemplating next year's tomatoes.  I had decided to go with sungold but Dad tells me they are very susceptible to blight so now I am rethinking.  The yellow mini plums I had this year were great as were the cherry tomatoes (the plant I ended up trailing along the fence and which is still producing trusses and ripening, despite not having been fed for ages now).  I wouldn't buy another beef tomato - they've been prolific but they did get blossom end rot and the fruits are not perfect.  Fine for cutting out the bad bits and cooking but not for producing that perfect slice to go over a burger or whatever.  Probably my fault, but . . .
The large plum (giulietta)was fantastic and I will buy more than one next year, if at all possible.  There's still a few green fruits but they are very slow to ripen now.
The indigo rose has been fun, a novelty, but I wasn't totally impressed with the flavour and won't bother again.

However, the plant (or plants) I've been very pleased with are the ones I grew from a freebie pack although, annoyingly, I now can't find the rest of the pack.  I managed to plant out three and they have produced tasty pear shaped fruits that have been ripening slowly and steadily for several weeks now, despite a very late start.  I've just googled in hopes and it's called 'red pear'.  Another one on the list!
Pretty, aren't they (not my photo, borrowed from Google Images)?

Thinking of trailing along the fence, at last, at long, long last, my tayberry is sending up new growth, indicating an improved root structure.  Poor plant, it's been much maltreated since I bought it, staying in its pot for much longer than intended, then planted not terribly well, dug up and replanted in the same place but deeper.    After leaf browning and generally looking not terribly happy all year, it seems to have got off its backside and produced some nice, green leafage at last and maybe in two years time I will get some decent fruit.  That would be great!  Tayberry jam from my own plant!  So maybe no more trailing along the fence for tomatoes, good idea though it was for this year.

A walk down memory lane here - The second house G and I bought (in London) had a nice little garden that was mostly landscaped, but at the bottom was a wonderful loganberry (a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry) patch.  I'd never met loganberries before but was impressed with the large juicy berries that made such delicious jam.  However, with two young children and a busy social life and an undeveloped appreciation of cooking and preserving, I didn't get the best out of it.  I regret that now.  I wonder if the patch is still there.  Probably not after all this time.

I've just looked up tayberry and it says that it is larger, sweeter and more aromatic than a loganberry and though they are both blackberry/raspberry crosses.  It also says they can be eaten raw or cooked (good) but are not easy pickers (whatever that means) and cannot be picked on an industrial scale.

Another maltreated plant that's has decided to give up and grow is a passion flower so I'm in hopes than next year it will flower and look really pretty.

I'm still not 100% but well enough to waffle on here in a way I have not been up to all week, so obviously very much on the mend.  Thank you all very much for your kind and encouraging comments.  They have all been appreciated, whether or not I have replied to them.

Better go and get the dough on and start chopping up the tomatoes.  And I need another coffee too!  Have a good weekend.  And if you've managed to get to the end without nodding off - congratulations!


  1. Glad to see you in the land of the living again but don't get complacent take care not to over do it.

  2. Good point, thanks. I will be careful, Diane. It's just so lovely to feel like doing things again!
    J x

  3. Tayberries produce a nicer fruit than loganberries. Like loganberries they can be prickly, but not as difficult to pick. At one time there were both along the back garden fence. I used to dread pruning them back even when wearing sturdy gardening gloves. Jx

  4. Hmm - thanks for the info. Just as well I only have the one plant then! I vagueky remember that loganberry was prickly and I don't ever remember pruning it!
    J x