All gardeners get very excited about their tomatoes. Over the last number of years it has become progressively more difficult to grow tomatoes outdoors in Brussels. Although this year started badly, these last two weeks of sun and heat have brought on a bloom of tomatoes and a smile to many a gardener’s face.
Growing tomatoes in a small shaded city garden is a labour of love. There is no point expecting greenhouse volumes of tomatoes. Instead the city gardener should look for variety in the types grown (the more unusual the better) and a consistent fruiting period of healthy plants over a longer period of time.
In the last few years tomato plants have struggled with poor summers leaving the plants with lots of green tomatoes. While a good sign of health, the plants do need a burst of sunshine to bring on their colour. These last two weeks have been ideal and now fruits are colouring and more green tomatoes are forming.
Usually at this time of year, after a week or two of heat, violent rain storms roll in and bring late blight to the tomatoes. The gardener then has to struggle over the next month harvesting fruit as they colour before the virus consumes the plant and wastes the remaining tomatoes.
No doubt the rains will come in a week or so but meantime the gardner can take pleasure in successful plants that survived a difficult year. Learning how plants adapt and survive through our unpredictable weather conditions is a challenging but worthwhile endeavour.