Saturday, 20 November 2010

Looking Back at the Season's Results

Every season has its ups and downs - its successful results and disappointments, and this season was no exception.

I've noticed that for the past three summers (maybe four) we have had very good early summer periods of dry warm weather followed by mid to late summers of poor weather and lots of rain! We then get a few weeks of dry warm weather in the Autumn.

Another change is that the last frost date has been getting earlier each season which is good news as it extends the tomato growing season, however, although frost isn't a problem after mid May in most of the UK, damp wet weather will cause fungal diseases and lower plants resistance, making them vulnerable to other diseases and slow growth.

If there is one takeaway from all this, it is that plants that are often exposed to rain, or regular condensation in the greenhouse, won't do well.

My results this season were the best I've ever had from the early maturing varieties - especially the cherry tomato varieties, but the larger tomato plants that take longer to produce mature fruit, suffered from the poor summer.

The fruit of the larger varieties was particularly late to mature and I had many gardeners send me emails asking why their tomatoes had not turned red and how they might get them to mature more quickly.

It is warmth that encourages tomatoes to mature, so cool temperatures in late summer prevented fruit growing outdoors from ripening - or at least slowed the process down.

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