IT IS that tomato time of year again — and I love it.
Planting out tasty varieties, watching them flourish with the eager anticipation of taste sensations to come is most exciting.
And there is always something new and old out there in the shape of developments and traditional favourites.
One of the newly available varieties I will be trialling is Dobies’ tomato Heinz 1370 described by the seedsman as ‘ideal for salads and sauces’.
It can be grown indoors or out in a sunny spot. Heinz 1370 is one of the original varieties used for ketchup and produces an abundance of fruit on a semi bush-type plant.
Dobies is also supplying me with garnet, which is bred from sweet aperitif and rated in a recent trial by Which? magazine as the sweetest and tastiest tomato.
The cherry tomatoes are a rich, bronze colour, have a good balance between sweetness and acidity, and are disease resistant.
The third plug plant I am trialling is nimbus, which is sometimes compared to moneymaker because of its size, shape and pillar box red colour.
If it has the taste and texture of moneymaker of old then I will be pleased indeed.
It is more disease resistant than moneymaker too, fighting off tobacco mosaic virus, fusarium wilt and cladosporium.
Talking tomatoes, I have again, most kindly, been supplied with two trays full of Eddie Grove’s queen of hearts.
They are based on those created by the late and much lamented Stan Jackson as a love token to his wife.
As readers will know, he spent many years perfecting a tasty, thin-skinned variety with a distinctive heart shape.
Eddie has grown them for many years and, while he cannot guarantee there has been no cross-fertilisation, they normally come pretty true to type.
This year, Stan’s family has made available a small quantity of seed taken from Stan’s last crop, which last year lived on after he had died and should most definitely be true to type.
So, for readers of this column, there will be packets of Stan’s last seed at 50p each in the County Press Shop in Pyle Street, Newport, from today (Friday).
Proceeds, as ever, will go to the Send a Cow charity, which does so much good work to help Africa feed itself.