Tomato lifestyles

gardening

We're growing a lot of tomatoes at the moment. We both love tomatoes and can't get enough of them, but last year our crop was a dismal failure (grand total of fruits: 11 ). So this year, we decided to hedge our bets. We grew half of our plants indoors in our unheated conservatory, and half outside on the allotment. Looking at them now, you'd find it hard to believe that they were the same varieties, let alone the same varieties planted at about the same time.

The indoor tomatoes are like supermodels. Incredibly tall (2 metres or more), leggy and skinny, they continually flop melodramatically all over the place despite being well supported with canes. Every day I come in to water them to find that another branch has buckled and is trailing on the ground having a crisis, or threatening to bring down another plant. They are healthy enough, but I think that the higher temperature and humidity in the conservatory has made the new growth very sappy and soft. They have flowers and a few tiny fruits, but I can't imagine how they'll stand up when they have a full crop of fruits weighing them down.

In contrast, the allotment tomatoes are like sturdy hill tribespeople: short with strong stems, tough, leathery leaves and very bushy. They've been exposed to the colder temperatures and the vicious winds that whip over our allotment site, and they almost look as if they'd be able to stand up on their own. They are a bit further behind, fruiting-wise, but I think they'll probably produce a decent crop if we can keep the slugs and pigeons away from them.

1 Which we cut in half and shared, determined to enjoy our one and only tomato.

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