This is the journal of my endeavours to grow a range of fruit, veg and flowers from seed, grow organically, and my attempts to create a personal paradise with 1/2 acre of maintained gardens and 1/2 acre wild meadows. Northern Ireland's average daily high temperatures are 18 °C (64 °F) in July and 6 °C (43 °F) in January. Soil type: Clay

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Tomato (Red Cherry) Progress

The tomatoes are growing and growing...

Variety: Tomato (Red Cherry), Mr Fothergill's, 50 seeds, £1.89. Sown 3 April 2011 indoor. Plan to keep them indoor throughout summer.

This is my attempt at providing a support for the plants. It's a few bamboo canes tied together. I finally got the hang of pinching out side shoots (I think). It's still a bit confusing but now that I see flowers and some tomatoes forming I'm fairly content.

I've never really grown tomatoes. (Years ago I was given a plant.... but I had no idea what to do with it; it soon wilted, died and of course produced no tomatoes). This year I thought I'd give it a go.
I was asked whether I self pollinate? Well, I read up on this... found an article that said to use an electric razor as the vibration is like a bee and the plant will drop pollen. I tried this... 'shaving the flowers' (embarrassingly) and saw no pollen whatsoever. So I tried Plan B - use a Q-tip but saw no pollen whatsoever. Long story short (yes tried other methods), flowers and then little tomatoes are appearing so I have no idea if the plants are self pollinating or if my fiddling with them has worked?

Above and left: These two plants are from the same seed. One on left has lush leaves and I've been pinching and letting it grow straight up. One on right I've let grow into a bush shape and its leaves look small and pointy. Moral of story - tomatoes are fussy - indeterminate types not good grown as bush :)
Fingers crossed I get ripe, healthy tomatoes for first time ever!
Have a wonderful gardening week!


  1. Kelli, those tomatoes are looking great - you're getting the hang of this, aren't you!?
    I used to grow some tomatoes in a conservatory at my previous home, and I never found hand-pollination to be necessary. Even indoors there seem to be enough flying bugs to do the necessary. It's not only bees that do the job.
    My first toms (Maskotka) are just beginning to show a little bit of colour. We need some more sunshine!

  2. I think You will have many tomatoes to harvest this year your plants look so much healthier than ours that were growing last warm season.

  3. We grew tomatoes in our hoop house one year. At noon we went in with an electric toothbrush and just touched each flower. Got to be kind of time consuming, and hot, but we did have some nice fruit. Not sure if the bees would have ventured into the greenhouse in that heat or not.

  4. Hi Kelli, the bees will do the pollinating!In the greenhouse I just give each plant a gentle shake when I think of it and they produce fruit so like you I am not sure if it is me or Mother nature working.
    Nothing like the taste of a tom straight off the plant!
    peggy organicgrowingpains

  5. I think you will have plenty of tomatoes this year. Your plants look very healthy. Well done!

  6. I bet you can't wait to to make your first salad--or just pop the first one in your mouth straight from the vine. That's how I like my cheery tomatoes.

  7. Tomatoes are one of the things I enjoy growing most. Once you taste your home grown tomatoes you'll look forward to growing them every year. I wouldn't bother hand pollinating, just give the plants a gentle tap when you remember and they should be fine.

  8. Your tomatoes are looking so healthy!! I do the qtip method to pollinate but like you, I'm not sure if it's me or nature that's actually getting the work done! =0)