7 Jun 2011

Cherriettes of Fire

Meet my new tomato ...

Cherriettes of Fire, June 2011

I'd like to say that this is all my own work but that would be telling porkies.  After several attempts I've thrown in the towel with my own efforts and resorted to buying in a few plants.  After no less than three attempts at growing a bush tomato from seed, I have been forced to admit defeat.  Oh the seeds germinated alright and grew strong and upright until the tiny first proper leaves appeared.  The next morning, just a stem.  Or a half eaten leaf.  I persevered and nurtured but night after night mysterious munchings carried on until there were only stems.  I tried again - twice. But this is the current state of my third attempt:

Just tomato stalks

Really just too frustrating!  I've since discovered from Emma Cooper's blog that this could be the work of Fungus Gnats - those irritating little flies that hop swiftly around when you water indoor plants. Their eggs hatch just under the soil and the maggoty larvae munch through roots or whatever vegetation is available. A suggested solution is to let the soil dry out between waterings, a better one is apparently yellow sticky traps. (I might check that one out!)

So, during a visit to a well-known home'n'garden centre to pick up more potting soil, I found myself examining the labels in the tomato section ... and picking up a couple of sturdy, leafy plants to bring home.  (Nice to see that said emporium has embraced Heritage toms.) I bought rescued a vine tomato called Auriga (looking very abandoned and sorry for itself) and another Heritage tom "Tornado" - although whether I'm the best person to nurture these plants, based on previous form, remains to be seen!

But how could I resist a tomato that was called "Cherriettes of Fire"?  I've had the soundtrack to that movie running through my head ever since. It's not a heritage variety but given the abundant flowers already forming, at last I have hopes of a tomato crop this summer.  (Fingers crossed against blight, that is!)

My new tomato plant, June 2011


  1. Awww, what wrotten luck. Hope you have better luck growing your tomatoes from seed next year.
    I've never heard of any of the tomatoes you mention, our garden centres seem to stock the same boring ones. My tumbling toms have just started to flower, not too long now... :)

  2. The usual selection was on offer as well (Gardener's Delight, Moneymaker, etc) but I ignored these as I like to grow different varieties from those found in the supermarket. I DO wish all garden centres would put the latin names on plants though - half these names are just made up versions to fool us, I'm sure!

  3. I know it's getting a bit ahead of myself but I really want to try out some different tomato varieties next year, I am tempted by some of those really tiny ones and some that you can grow out of hanging baskets to start. Your rescued ones look very happy!

  4. I have no luck in growing my own tomatoes either, and like you bought a few plants. They're common or garden Gardener's Delight unlike your more exotic variety! Flighty xx

  5. Rachel, I think half the fun of growing your own is that you can choose varieties you just wouldn't find elsewhere. Keep reading the blogs and someone will tell you what the tiny toms are called!

    Flighty, I read on your FlightPlot that you'd also bought tomato plants so hopefully we'll both enjoy some toms this year - wouldn't it be fun to have a taste test and see if there really is that much difference!

    Caro x

  6. Sorry to sound all smug but I have always grown my own toms from seed, sometimes from seed I have kept from supermarket toms, and never had a failure yet. I don't think it really matters whether you grow your own or not - it's the end result that counts.

  7. Nice to see you here, Elaine! For me it's the satisfaction of raising a plant from seed. I enjoy the growing almost more than the eating part! We all have different strengths - I have no problems with carrots or cauliflowers (touch wood!) but it was the whitefly or fungus gnats (not sure) that got my toms. Maybe you could post some tips on your blog?? Caro x

  8. Tomatoes are one of my favourite things to grow and I've totally jumped the gun and bought some half-price seeds for next year (Sungold, Black Cherry and Tigerella). I'm also looking forward to saving tomato seed for the first time as it worked like a charm with chillies last year.

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  10. Have bought Cherriettes of fire from the said garden centre chain for the last three years and from a single plant have had hundreds of tiny, sweet delicious tomatoes (by tiny, I mean as small as your finger nail). Good luck with yours, I am sure you won't be disappointed :-))


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