In the Garden News
The start to this season has been really quite cold and because of this we have only just recently planted out our tomatoes. Usually this would have been about two or three weeks ago, but if we do get a decent bit of sunshine we should still be harvesting good fruit by July. Most of the tomato growing at Gravetye is done by one of our gardeners, Matt Bond, whose passion for the fruit has earned him quite a reputation within the gardening world. This is nicely described at http://dixtervegetablegarden.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/tomato-king/
Matt sowed this year’s crop at the start of March and after some discussion with Rupert, the Head Chef, selected 12 different varieties. Cherry Tomatoes feature highly in our choice and the varieties Miel, Super Sweet, Black Cherry and Sungold make up about half our crop. These are all great varieties, which we have grown for years and know we can rely on for outstanding flavour in any summer. Their contrasting yellow, orange, black and red colours also give the chefs a lot of fun in presenting them on the plate.
San Marzano is a brilliant plum tomato and makes the best sauce in the world, although it can struggle a little in a cold summer. Despite this we still planted about ten in the hope we get a scorcher. Tigerella is the salad tomato which I am particularly looking forward to slicing into and its green striped fruit makes it probably the most beautiful tomato you can grow. Most of the rest of our crop is made up of new varieties to us, as we are always looking for an improvement to surpass our old favourites. I have to say though, any home grown tomato is wonderful, whatever the variety.
I have messed around at planting tomatoes out in the vegetable garden in the past, but since our summers have been so unreliable lately I don’t bother any more. We have a large poly tunnel at Gravetye and the warmth and shelter its plastic provides ensures that we can meet all of the restaurants demands, even if the summer is disappointing. Now that all the tomatoes are planted, and tied to their canes which they should soon engulf it is a sight of pure anticipation and I cant wait to bite into the first cherry tomato, warm in the sun.
With Matt’s passion for growing tomatoes we have over produced on plants a little. If anyone reading this would like to grow some, please come to the manor soon and we can supply you with some of the best plants in the south of England, grown by the tomato king himself.
To find out more about Tom's exciting work at Gravetye Manor you can read his latest article on our kitchen garden in Country Life on our Press Page.
|Join us for our William Robinson Festival on Saturday 6th July - enjoy garden talks, flower demonstrations and the chance to win Dinner for two at the Manor…||Pansies, cornflowers, borage, nasturtiums, daylilies, apple blossoms and wild garlic flowers are all lending flavours to our salads at the moment, Rupert tells us more…|