Friday 17 June 2011

Tempests and tomatoes

tomato coeur de boeuf

The tomatoes are looking good, mostly. Unfortunately the Noire de Crimée which I grew from seeds saved from a commercial fruit have Tobacco Mosaic Virus. I've moved them out of the greenhouse and their future hangs in the balance. They need burning, but it's probably too late anyway, TMV is dreadfully contagious and the other plants have been in close proximity so transmission is almost certain to have happened. With better attention to seed hygiene it could probably have been avoided but I must have been in a hurry when saving the seeds and didn't bother to ferment or bleach clean. A cautionary tale.

I'm hoping that I'll get a crop from the other plants anyway. The Coeur de Boeuf in the picture is the first to form fruit but all the vines look healthy and are flowering.

Is it just me that hates the smell of tomato plants though? It's almost enough to make me give up glasshouse growing before it's even started again. Ten minutes of tying in and removing side shoots in the heat makes me nauseous and that awful yellow stuff all over my hands, yuck!

from the pumpkin patch

This morning saw some heavy rain which has wet the soil properly. All to the good as the long term forecast predicts a return to high pressure and dry conditions by the last week of the month. At the moment though everything is in a state of flux and very strong winds of up to 65km/h are expected this afternoon. This isn't enough to get terribly worried about from a structural safety point of view but I am worried my broad beans, which have become rather tall and willowy, and the peas will suffer from it.

And unless the soaking rain today has changed something it looks like my gamble with sweetcorn has failed to come off. Just two little shoots showing from 40 seeds planted. Most disappointing but perhaps I was expecting too much from dainty F1s by planting them that deep.

It was very pleasing to see the first flowers on the Carlin peas today. The plants are looking really good, very vigorous and tall. If they can survive the gales it should be an excellent crop.

carlin flower


Rhizowen said...

my understanding is that fermentation is not always entirely successful in removing TMV. Trisodium orthophosphate is supposed to give the best results and is what Tom Wagner recommend. Heating the seeds to about 70C for days (or even weeks) usually gets rid of virus lurking internally.

Catofstripes said...

Thanks Rhizowen, I've never had to worry before. These particular seeds aren't precious so I'll just ditch the rest of the batch but I'll be waiting anxiously to see if the infection has taken hold in the rest of the plants. If so, it'll mean a full scale cleanup in my shiny new greenhouse, something I was hoping to avoid for a couple of years.