Monday 21 April 2014

Multiplying tomatoes

Tomato plants went on sale locally at the beginning of March. We saw the first of them on a stall in Descartes market. A gentleman well seasoned in years with a flat cap and rubicund features turned to me and said bemusedly, 'Tomates?' These plants could only survive even the most favourable early spring in a heated greenhouse, a rare item in these parts.

But then, having sowed our tomato seeds for the year, we found ourselves without 'Lemon Boy', one of our favourites. Instead of buying seed (mail order from Baumaux) we bought a plant from Gamm Vert (5€10 per 3), potted it on and cut the top off. The top went in a glass of water, the rest on the windowsill.

In the space of a couple of weeks, the top has grown roots, making a plant about the size of the growing seedlings. We now have two Lemon Boy plants. Yesterday a side shoot from the mother plant went into the glass with the top, and very soon the Boys will be a threesome. There are six more sideshoots forming on the stem of the mother plant...

The rooted cutting is in front

Little rootlets questing for nutrients

For this technique we have to thank Joe Maiden, then of the Gardening Which trial gardens at Golden Acre Park, Leeds, and still very much of Sunday mornings on Radio Leeds. As GW subscribers we were invited to an open day at the trial gardens, where Joe was in full anecdote. Free tomato plants? Well, why not?

A true Yorkshireman, reet enow - with fans elsewhere in Touraine!

A corner of Golden Acre Park, courtesy of Leeds List


Colin and Elizabeth said...

It had to be a Yorkshire man... When it comes to paying out there isn't many that can compete! 'Sewn up pockets' spring to mind... I know my dad was one!!!!

It is a useful tip though. I currently just sow seeds but they are not growing all that well at the moment... Need more heat. C

Pollygarter said...

Mine are under the growlight but still getting leggy. You're welcome to a few spares - have you a spare corner of the table at the brocante for a few plants?

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Elizabeth says yes to a few plants for the Brocante, thanks. C