Archive for category Solanum

Planting Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of my favourite foods so I grow as many as I can fit in my garden and choose varieties for their flavour, use and season and I make sure of a good crop by really taking care of them. As with most plants if you give them a good start and the best growing conditions you will be rewarded with better crops and stronger plants that need less care in the long run.


Choosing Tomato varieties
My favourite eating tomato is still Noir de Crimee, a black Russian heirloom; odd shape, odd colour but fantastic taste. Cherry tomatoes are a must for me as they are great to graze on while pottering around the garden. Next I make sure I have plenty of tomatoes for preserving, some varieties being better than others, the best I’ve tried so far are San Marzano and Roma for paste and sauces see the page on best preserving tomatoes. The other thing to consider is the length of the season. Some tomatoes bear fruit more quickly than others and are normally described by the number of days from planting out to first fruit ripening i.e. Early 55-70 days, Mid-Season 70-85 days and Late beyond 85 days. Next is variety of flavour and colour which makes for wonderful mixed tomato salads so it is nice to grow a few mild white tomatoes, acidic green ones and puunchy orange ones.

The first thing about tomatoes is that they need plenty of nutrients to produce all those lovely fruits, but the nutrients need to be added as they grow, if you put too much in at the beginning they are more likely to have too much leaf growth at the expense of fruit.

Soil Preparation
Tomatoes need a constant medium level of moisture. Too dry, too wet or too much fluctuation often causes blossom end rot resulting in unusable tom

atoes. Prepare the soil where the tomatoes are to be grown either by preparing planting holes, troughs or the entire bed. I prefer to prepare troughs as this helps to direct the most nutrients and moisture to the roots and it makes it easier to water when needed. Dig a long ditch 2 spades deep and 1 spade wide. Put a layer of chopped comfrey leaves on the bottom and half fill with  a mixture of well rotten compost and manure 9 parts compost to one part manure and water heavily to fill the trough.

Tomato-Spacing 390.jpg

Planting depth
Plant the tomatoes in the bottom of the trough, as deep as you can, right up to the first set of true leaves, remove the remaining baby leaves. Roots will grow from th

e stalks giving the plant more stability and ability to draw more moisture and nutrients from the soil cover with dry soil but leave sides to the trough. This will help protect the young plants from wind and help direct water to the plants.

Spacing and Staking
Tomatoes need a fare bit of space as they don’t like to be crowded. It depends on how you plan to grow the tomatoes as to what distance apart they should by anything from 40-75cm apart works. I normally set out at around 50cm apart and grow them as cordons, that is straight up a pole with one main stem or sometimes two depending on how vigorous the variety. Cordon tomatoes need to be staked, I use 2 meter metal, chestnut, or cane poles with a cross brace on windy sites. Tie in the plants as they grow so that the tops are firmly but gently attached to the poles.

Top Dressing
Once the tomatoes are in place add a top dressing of organic soil enhancer such as seaweed meal or well rotted manure. The dressing will gradually be brought down into the soil by water and the soluble nutrients can then be drawn up by the plant as it grows.

Mulch
Applying a mulch, a top cover, over the ground around the tomatoes will help protect the soil and plants and conserve the moisture level in the soil. For more details on mulching read Using Mulches

Pinching out
Intermediate tomatoes have a habit of growing into bushes which produce a lot of leaf and plant growth but less fruit. In order to concentrate the plants energy on the fruit it helps to pinch out the side shoots. That is the little sprouts that form between the main stems and a leaf branch. Pinch these out with your fingers when they are less than 12cm. If you have missed a few and they have got bigger cut them off with clippers or a knife so as not to tear the plant.

Liquid Feed
Tomatoes benefit from a liquid feed, applied every 2 weeks, once the fruit start to form. You can buy ready made preparations but why not make you own. For more details on liquid feeds read Making Organic Liquid Fertilisers

Gardener’s Tip

Russian Comfrey is one of the most versatile plants for the organic kitchen gardener as it is a fantastic natural source of potash-rich organic material and liquid feed. It’s many uses include; compost activator, liquid feed, potting mix, soil enhancer, mulch and bee attractant.

The real value of comfrey lies in its composition. The roots bring up potassium, phosphate and other minerals from deep in the ground to the leaves which are also high in nitrogen. Comfrey has 2-3 times more potassium than animal manure, which makes it especially good for the production of flowers, fruits and seeds.

Beware Russian Comfrey  (Symphytum x uplandicum) is quite a different plant from Wild Comfrey. (Symphytum asperum). Russian Comfrey is a hybrid and is sterile so does not freely seed. Wild Comfrey seeds madly and can be a real nuisance, we had some growing in our garden in England and I could not get rid of it.

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Pepper, Doux D’Espagne

Capsicum Annuum Doux D’Espagne

A long, sweet pepper also known as Sweet Spanish Mammoth an heirloom, which dates back to 1859, according to Thomas Etty.
I first grew this pepper in 2006 and it did so well, providing huge crops of delicious sweet peppers, that I have grown it each year since. I usually grow 6-12 plants, because I make a lot of pepper preserves, but if I was just growing it for eating fresh I would probably only need 3 to 6 plants.
Image Doux D’Espagne, green

So far it has seen off all competition, Big Banana an F1 that struggled to produce fruit in a dry season, Red Goats Horn (Corno di Torro) not nearly as meaty or tasty, and Buran nice but not much of a crop. Doux D’Espagne is my favourite by far and the sweet red pepper to measure others by. It really is outstanding, great in the kitchen and a prolific and reliable cropper. Green the fruit are delicious sweet and crisp with a hint of aniseed in the taste, once matured to red they are sweet and packed with flavour. They are delicious raw and make a wonderful Turkish Red Pepper Paste, or Roast Pepper Salad and contribute bulk to hot Harissa.

Image pepper growing in the lush foliage

The plants are robust and grow fairly tall, 3-5 foot depending on the season, with lots of mid to dark green foliage. The white flowers set green fruits that mature to red fairly early and crop until the first frost. The peppers are huge, 20cm long, 3 sided, tapered and smooth. The flesh is thick, crisp and juicy. A great all purpose sweet red pepper, I haven’t found anything to beat it yet, though I do still keep trying.

Overwintering 

I have had success growing this variety as a perennial in my unheated polytunnel. It survived and cropped for three seasons before I had to remove the huge plant when the polytunnel had an overhaul and clean out in 2008.

Seed Source Original seed source was a French commercial seed company Gondian.
MDD Growing Log
2006 S:Feb 3 Set out 16 plants May 15, brilliant crop outdoors from early August, pest free. Block planted, mulched with straw they seemed to really like that
2007 S: March 26 Set out 6 plants May 20, excellent crop
2008 S: April 7 Set out 6 plants July 4, cropped ok but not enough time to mature and fully crop as in previous years
2009 S March 5. Pricked out 12 plants April 20. Set out 8 plants May 31. Great crop but would have benefitted from moving schedule forward 1 month as in 2006.

Original Seed Source Gondian 
Note 
this is part of a series on favourite varieties  ones that I will continue to grow, save seeds and hopefully produce enough seeds to share. Keeping a variety log is useful particularly  if you want to save the seeds .

Endangered Seed Status
According to the Canadian Seeds of Diversity Heritage Plants Database  this pepper is an endangered one as few seed companies carry it and it is not maintained in the US or Canadian gene bank. However I have found several companies that carry seeds: Thomas Etty-UK, Vilmorin-FR, Gondian-FR

Mas du Diabl;e Original Posted 7/2/2009

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Tomato, White Rabbit

Tomato, White Rabbit

Indeterminate Cherry Tomato. Early-mid season: 65-80 days
Description Small cherry sized tomatoes that mature from creamy white to yellow when fully ripe.
Flavour A warm very unusual fruity flavour not really tomato like and not acid but delicious in its onwn right. Makes a wonderful cocktail with a mixture of coloured cherry tomatoes.
Plants Huge prolific plants that if left unchecked wild form a sprawling mass of stems, leaves and fruit.
Yield Megga productive.
Seed Source Kokopelli        Origin Developed by Joe Bratka in New Jersey.
Seed Saved 2008
Resistance Suffered from no disease, virus or pest in my garden. Skins are thin so fruit are succespible to cracking if overwaterered.
USP More like a sweet fruit than a tomato so kids love them even ones that don’t like tomatoes.

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Tomato, Caro Rich

I like to keep good records of my favourite varieties; the ones that I grow and save seeds for. It is full-on tomato season here so I thought I should catch up with the tomatoes and write up some of the best varieties.


Tomato, Caro Rich

Tomato, Caro Rich

Indeterminate. Mid-early season: Said to be 80 days from transplant, though I do think it can be brought on sooner and is usually one of the first to produce fruit in my garden.
Description A round, slightly scalloped, deep orange tomato usually around 7-8cm accross and 120-150g in weight. The orange skin is near perfect; blemish free, smooth, of uniform colour and not too thick. The flesh inside is nice and dense, juicy and orange throughout. One of my favourite salad tomatoes.
Flavour Delicious – a nice balance of tart and sweet. Use raw and in salads
Yield Medium – productive.
Seed Source Kokopelli   Origin unknown
Seed Saved 2008, 2009, 2010
Resistance Has shown itself to be fairly drought resistant and has not so far suffered from blossom end rot or cracking in my garden.
USP Apart from its beauty these perfect fruit have extremely high provitamin content something like 10 times that of ordinary tomatoes.

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Chilli, Lemon Drop

Lemon Drop pods freshly harvested

Chilli, Capsicum baccatum, Lemon Drop

An Aji variety from Brazil or, according to the Chilliman, its origin is Peru where it is known as ‘Kellu Uchu’. Citrus-flavoured hot lemon yellow chilli pepper. Some sources list this variety as C.chinense but Kokopelli list it as C.baccatum which matches its botanical characteristics.

Chilli Pepper, Lemon Drop Growing

Plants Beautiful arching plants grow to 2-3ft in height. A very productive variety the spreading branches are quickly laden with fruit. The flowers are white star with green markings on the inner petals.

Pods The bright yellow, crinkled, cone-shaped fruits are about 4cm long and 1cm wide and mature from green to yellow. Some sources say in 100 days from transplant but the strain I grow have pods to harvest 3 months from sowing.

Flavour This is a truly unique flavoured chilli with a real sharp and distinct citrus flavour.

Heat A hot chilli Lemon Drop. According to Kokopelli this chilli has a Scoville rating in the 5,000 to 15,000 range making it Heat Level 6 but I think it is hotter and more likely Heat level 7/8. As with most chillis the actual heat of each pod will be affected by the growing conditions.

Use A fantastic chilli adds both heat and citrus tones to all kinds of cooked dishes. Dries well and the Lemon Drop pods make a wonderful and very hot powder.

Lemon Drop Chilli Seed Processing

Seed Saving

Pods have very few seeds sometimes as few as 15. Saving seeds from hot chilli peppers can be painfull, the heat from these chillis burns through gloves and irritates the hands. I find if the chilis are first dried then the stalk end can be broken off and the seeds can be shaken out of the capsules without touching them.

Growing Log

2007 I grew these as a seed Guardian for Association Kokopelli  Sown March 17 (20 seeds) in a 13cm pot of sterlised seed compost covered with vermiculite then placed in an electric heated propagator. Pricked Out April 9  (6 plants) to 7cm pots of sterlised seed compost. Hardened off in unheated polytunnel (12c-30c). Planted Out May 20 6 plants in a single row. Productive from June 20 to November 6 outdoors. Planted 45cm apart. Note these plants have a wide spread and should be spaced 60-75cm apart

2009 Sown Jan 11 (10 seeds)

Note this variety log is part of a series on my favourite varieties; the pick of the crop and the ones that I will continue to grow and save seeds of. I like to keep good records for the varieties I maintain seeds for. See my other variety files

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Chile de Arbol

Capsicum Annuum, Chilli de Arbol

Chilli, Capsicum Annuum, de Arbol also known as Tree Chilli

Origin Oaxaca and Jalisco states in Mexico. According to the chilli database these chillis are sometimes called pico de pajaro (bird beak) or cola de rata (rat tail).
Plants
are extremely vigorous, growing into 5ft tall plants in a single season, hence the name, which in Spanish means tree like.
Fruit
are slender pointed chillis, 1cm wide and 7-10cm long they mature from light green to dark red and are mild to reasonably hot. Thin fleshed they dry well and make lovely wreaths or ‘Ristras’. 
Flavour:
The de arbol has a sharp, distinctive flavour that develops further when the dried pods are roasted in a frying pan for a few minutes.

Heat Hot 7/10
Use:
This chilli is predominantly used to make hot sauces, in Mexico they are fried whole with black beans or roasted until very crisp. These peppers make a good chilli powder after being dried or roasted. The  ground powder is delicious sprinkled on fruit or fresh raw veg salads

Seed Source I got the seeds in a swap.

MDD Growing Log

2009 grew extremely well in an unheated polytunnel producing loads of chillis right through the season. Plants need serious staking, they reached over 6ft in my polytunnel. Outdoors the plants also produced a good crop, quick to ripen. A useful easy to grow chilli.

Note this variety log is part of a series on my favourite varieties; the pick of the crop and the ones that I will continue to grow and save seeds of. I like to keep good records for the varieties I maintain seeds for. See my other variety files

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Best Preserving Tomatoes

In 2008 I grew a selection of tomatoes for preserving because I wanted to see if there was anything better than my usual favourite, San Marzano.  Now that I am thinking about what varieties to grow this year it’s a good time to review my little trial.

A selection of cooking and preserving tomatoes

Tomatoes make some of the most useful and delicious preserves for winter, things like: passata, coulis de tomate, tomato concentrate, pastes and sauces and of course dried tomatoes so I like to grow plenty of tomatoes to conserve. With any comparison it is worth bearing in mind the criteria; I am looking for tomatoes that produce in abundance, with dense, dryish flesh, few seeds, easy to peel/process, with good colour and of course flavour; I want intense deep flavours when cooked or dried.  Here’s what I found.

The standard bearer – San Marzano II, 2008

San Marzano

Large, 10cm long, blocky plum shaped, red tomatoes, with dry flesh and few seeds. The fruit is almost hollow with only two seed cavities and dry flesh, which makes it excellent for drying and great for bottling whole.
The tomatoes are easy to peel once scalded, when cooked the tomato flavour intensifies and so does the colour so they are great for sauces and passata. I find the plants are best grown as double cordons (that is with two stems trained up a hefty metal pole). Plants are robust and will stand up well to high temperatures and strong winds but  San Marzano tomatoes really don’t like to get too dry at the roots and are prone to blossom end rot if there is too much moisture fluctuation, so they do need an extra bit of care to grow well. San Marzano are prolific producing huge vines of long red plum tomatoes over a long period, typically in my garden from July right up until the first frosts so even if dry spells affect them early on in the season they will still carry on and produce good fruit later on. Verdict Still top of the pile in my opinion as an all round conserving tomato, particularly for passata, drying and bottling. If I could only grow one variety for conserving it would be this one. If you raise them carefully they are a great, if not the best, conserving tomato.

Roma VF

The other classic conserving tomato is Roma, popular with the canning industry and I can understand why, it is so easy to process and tastes great. It is a wonderful deep red, plump plum tomato with a little point on the blossom end. The tomatoes are thin skinned, with thick juicy flesh and a deep rich tomatoey taste. Plants are very productive, I grew six plants, which produced buckets of fruit. This variety of Roma is a determinate one and the bulk of the crop was ready to harvest at the same time, which can be useful if you want to do your conserving in one big batch. It was also pretty resilient and had no problem with blossom end rot when San Marzano was affected.Verdict Roma really came out as contender because the tomatoes were actually better than San Marzano for flavour and texture when cooked but the messy sprawling growth habit and short cropping season meant that San Marzano would win out in my garden. However I think growing both is ideal for my purposes, a big crop of tomatoes for preserving in quantity as well as a steady supply over 4 months. Perhaps a double row; with San Marzano at the back and these shorter plants on the front of a south facing row.

Cornu Des Andes

Now this tomato was a real surpsrise, producing great big pointy pepper shaped tomatoes with solid meaty flesh, good taste and easy to peel once scalded. I found it was able to withstand dry / wet fluctuations (a real problem with the summer we had in 2008) and seems to be less prone to blossom-end-rot than San Marzano. However the big downside was that it was not an abundant producer and produced only a small number of fruits. Plants were frail in comparison to San Marzano with thin straggly stems that needed lots of support.  Individual fruits are larger and meatier than San Marzano, so 1 or 2 fruits were enough for most dishes, but the plants sadly did not produce very many fruits.  NB I only grew 2 plants in this trial so it is a limited sample from which to draw any firm conclusions. Verdict All in all I loved Cornu Des Andes despite its low productivity, it had great flavour and a wonderful dense, smooth texture. It really is a superb cooking and conserving tomato. I’ll definitely grow it again and maintain the seeds. Hopefully I will be able to select the seeds over the years to develop a more robust and productive strain in the future because I’ll want more of these little beauties.

Oroma

Very disappointed with this variety. I chose it from the Kokopelli seed catalogue because it said the variety is easy to peel which would be an advantage for a conserving or cooking tomato, however I found it impossible to peel untreated and no easier than Cornu des Andes or Roma VF and in fact I found it more difficult to peel than San Marzano, once scalded. The tomatoes are a slender plum, pale red with poor mealy flesh. The plants are determinate and in my garden they sprawled about the place and were a mess in no time. It provided a fairly meagre crop compared to the others in this trial. All can be forgiven for a tasty tomato but this one failed even that and had no particularly distinguishing taste.  All in all a pretty poor show. With so many other great tomatoes I won’t even give this one a second go.

Principe Borghese

This was the biggest disappointment of my trial of 2008. I had such high hopes for this tomato because every reference I’ve found for it claims it as the best variety for drying. Sadly, in my experience, nothing could be have been further from the truth and any one of the other tomatoes I tried drying made a better sun-dried tomato than these did. The skins are so thick, the flesh was thin and watery and there are so many seeds in these small tomatoes that by the time they are fully dried they are actually difficult to eat; a tough almost inedible morsel that tastes of very little because all that is left is skin and seeds. Nasty!
On the plus side the plants are prolific and produce big bunches of small, deep red fruit, plum shaped with a point on the blossom end and lots of them, however the determinate habit also means that if left alone the plants get a bit wild for my liking and end up spilling over neighbouring crops. I ended up taking out some of the side shoots to calm the things down. 
Verdict
I don’t want to reject this tomato on the basis of only one season’s growth but I did give it a fair chance with six plants, and frankly I don’t want to grow lots of useless tomatoes. I got the seeds in a swap so it may be there are better strains out there and I could give this variety another go with another batch of seeds if anyone has seeds they can recommend trying. As it stands I think they are really too small, seedy and tough skinned to be a good conserving tomato, they make terrible sun-dried tomatoes and are not well flavoured enough as a salad tomato. They do have one advantage however and that is that the tough skins mean they store well and seem to last a really long time, particularly if left on the vine. I also tried freezing this variety, which worked quite well, you still have the skins and seeds to deal with, but they provide a useful winter soup or stew ingredient.

Porter

I grew an old variety from Texas called Porter in 2007 because I was looking for tomatoes that could stand dessert conditions. I ended up with a few ‘volunteers’ turn up in the potager 2008, which made for a useful comparison when looking for the best conserving tomatoes in my trial. The fruits are of a similar shape and size to Principe Borghese but are a dark pink colour with dense flesh and fewer seeds.
Verdict These tomatoes can work as a sauce tomato as they have thin skins and less seeds and can easily be put through a passata machine or sieve to make a fairly decent, though less red passata, particularly if roasted first. In comparison however, they really are not as good as San Marzano, Roma or Cornu Des Andes for cooking nor as good as some of the cherry or olive types for eating fresh. However, the big plus for Porter in my garden is that they are robust, prolific and will stand high temperatures, dry conditions and even neglect and still crop well. So I think it is worth carrying the seeds forward and growing them every few years to keep the supply going.

A few others worth a mention
Not strictly conserving tomatoes but I found that the juicier beefsteak tomatoes: Double Rich and Cuostrallee also make particularly good chutneys and sauces.

Read more about making tomato paste and  preserving tomatoes on my recipes site, Kitchen Garden Recipes.

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Aubergine, Szechuan

Solanum Melongena. Aubergine var. Szechuan

A Chinese aubergine, collected by Joy Larkom in Chengdu, Szechuan province, in 1994. This variety is now kept by the Heritage Seed Library, which is where I got my original seeds from.

I first grew this variety of aubergine in 2008 and I was immediately impressed with it. After only one season this little beauty was already a favourite and one of the best tasting aubergines I’ve grown. Despite the cold wet season of 2008, the plants grew well and cropped over a long period from late July right through until the first frost in November. The aubergine fruits are smallish, about 15-18cm long, and slender to a tapering round point. The fruits are pale as they come out of the stalk and mature to a lovely dark purple while retaining a pale almost white to lime green flashing at the stalk end. The flesh is white, smooth, is slow to turn seedy and has a perfect texture. The prize is really in the taste, a gastronomic delight of almost sweet flesh with a lovely aubergine flavour that does not get bitter.

My Growing Log
2008 S Feb 13 in heat good germination from 9 seeds. Raised & planted 6 plants out May 2nd. Harvest from July 26 to Mid November. Isolated and harvested seed.
2009 S Feb 18 in heat from seed saved the previous year. Good germination. Pricked out 4 plants April 20. Planted 1 plant as a bench mark against which to measure the other 5 varieties I grew that year. Cropped really well right up until December and produced the best aubergines of the season see Aubergine Harvest 2009.

Note this variety log is part of a series on my favourite varieties; the pick of the crop and the ones that I will continue to grow and save seeds of. I like to keep good records for the varieties I maintain seeds for. See my other variety files

original post 6/2/2009 updated

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Litchi Tomato

I grew Morelle De Balbis (Solanum Sisymbriifolium) or Litchi Tomato, for the first time in 2008. All I knew about it is was that it is grown in Jersey as food for the gorillas in Durrell zoo.

I bought a single plant from a farmers market at Coustellet in the Luberon, from organic growers, Rachel and Frederic Smets and their “jardin de nos grands-meres…” who specialise in ancient or forgotten varieties which they grow on their farm near Bonnieux . Their stall was packed with exotic looking plants for the potager many of which I did know but one, the Morelle De Balbis, stood out as I had no idea what it was so I had to buy one to plant to see what it would become.

It turned out what I bought was Solanum Sisymbriifolium or Litchi Tomato. Litchi Tomato is a fairly rare Solanum producing lovely white flowers followed by 4-5cm red fruits enclosed in a prickly husk. The husk splits open when the fruit is ripe.

It is quite an unpleasant plant really. It grows to rather large proportions, I did not know to expect but I thought it would grow something like a tomato but what I got was a monster over 8ft tall that crowded out a good 16ft square of its raised bed.  Not only is it huge but it is covered with the most vicious spines. I tied it up, cut it back but it still managed to get me every time I passed it. I can forgive any plant for horrible growth habbits if it tastes good but I really found the fruit of this plant disappointing.

Fruit
The fruit are almost heart shaped with a little point and have a smooth red skin, which is strong but not tough, and yellow juicy flesh. The taste is not mind blowing, it is neither sour or sweet. Seed sellers say that the fruit are acidic with the taste of a Litchi but I didn’t find the ones from my plant had very much taste at all. Baker Creek reckon they taste ‘like a cherry crossed with a tomato’ – but to me they don’t taste much like either.  They have an insipid flavour. Of course I have tasted only the fruit from a single plant so it is hardly a fair assessment. The fruit can apparently be eaten raw or cooked and are used to make sauces and jams. I did not try cooking them perhaps more flavour could be got by boiling them with sugar.

Harvesting
The fruit are impossible, well nothing is impossible but they are painful to pick until they are ripe. Once ripe the spiky casings pull right back and the red fruit are exposed and can just be plucked without much injury. Clever really.

Cultivation
These plants come from the tropical regions of South America and are not frost hardy. Best grown like tomatoes. Sow in heat in early spring and plant out after the last frost. Matures in over 90 days from transplant so may need a long warm season climate.

Seed Saving
I think the best way is like you would save seeds for an aubergine:  to pulp the fruit with plenty of water, in a large glass, rinsing and draining off all floating debris then collect the seeds that have sank to the bottom of the glass. Spread out on a plate to dry.

Would I grow this again?
Well maybe but I’d have to put it somewhere where it won’t be a danger, not near paths or bed edges so it can grow as it likes without spiking me or anyone else. What is does have going for it though is that it is tough and resilient, it will stand heat and drought which for me is important. My second gardening year here was hit by drought. No rains from September to September meant that I lost a lot of crops and that is one of the reasons why I am so keen to experiment with growing a wide range of food crops and particularly ones that will crop without water

Seed Sources
I’ll have some seeds left to share if anyone wants some seeds or they can be bought from

Le Potager d’un Curieux
Ferme de Saintemarthe, France
Unusual Edible Plants & Herbs, UK
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, USA

Other Sources of Info
Le solanum sisymbrifolium
A la découverte de la morelle de Balbis (Solanum sisymbriifolium)

Posted collated from 3 posts 30/4/2008, 24/8/2008, 15/10/2008:

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Tomato, Noir de Crimée

Mid season tomato Indeterminate. (70-80 days)

Tomato, Noir de Crimée Sliced

Large fleshy tomatoes maturing to a dark red-brown, with green shoulders. Flavour is wonderful; rich, salty and slightly smoky one of my favourite tomatoes. Fruit are 6-10cm round, thin-skinned and juicy.
Medium yields on compact bushy plants. Good all rounder for cooking, salads or eating straight from the vine.
Origin This heirloom tomato comes from the Crimea by the black Sea. The variety is not mentioned in The Vegetable Garden, nor any other black tomatoes so we can assume it did not arrive in europe before 1880s. Very similar to, if not the same as Black Russian (Thomas Etty), Black Krim (Kokopelli).
Seed Source Vilmorin
Resistance Drought resistant but can be prone to cracking when too much water is applied.

2004   1 plant
Bought plant Planted Out May

2006 6 plants
Sowed Feb 3 Pricked out March 9 Planted Out May 9
Harvested great crop August – Oct and good seed harvest

2007 6 plants
Sowed March 18 Pricked out April 16 Planted Out May 17
Harvested Did not perform as well as previous years due to the weather conditions but still produced a decent crop of around 5kg

2008 2 plants
Sowed March 16 Pricked out April 7 Planted Out May 8
Harvest Outperformed-as bench mark- other black tomatoes: Carbon, Purple Calabash and Black Trieffle for taste, quality and productivity.

2009 2 plants
uprooted by wild pigs so no harvest this year

Note
Variety Files help keep a record of the varieties I grow and continue to grow for seed saving.

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