July 25, 2017

Let’s Talk Tomatoes – and a Useful Tip for Arthritis Sufferers

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

If you want to eat tomatoes which taste of tomatoes, with a strong, zingy flavour then you  just HAVE to grow your own.  On occasion you can buy tasty tomatoes in the shops, but not often and generally at a real premium.  There are lots of different varieties readily available as seeds (a bit too late for this year) and also as garden-ready plants so whether you’ve a back yard or rolling acres, get growing some of these amazingly gorgeous plants.

When you’re choosing varieties (yes, ideally grow several different ones!) :
Check whether the one you have in mind is a ‘greenhouse’ or ‘outdoor’ variety.  Greenhouse varieties really do need the protection of  a greenhouse, conservatory, glazed porch or similar, whichever part of the country you live in. I’ve grown outdoor varieties successfully indoors and out.

If you need one for a container such as a patio pot most ‘ outdoor bush’ varieties work well as they don’t need staking.  But if you need one for a hanging basket or smaller space then  try ‘Tumbling Tom’, ‘Tumbler’, ‘Hundreds and Thousands’, ‘Sweet and Neat’, ‘Cherry Cascade’, ‘Tasty Tumbler’ – all of these are compact and produce good yields of tasty fruits.

Sometimes you may want to grow tomatoes with a specific purpose in mind  – for making sauces and passata the plum tomatoes are perfect and if you want to create your own  dried tomatoes  the fairly small-fruited plum tomato ‘Roma’ is a firm favourite.

If blight has been a  problem then you may be tempted to try to avoid it by careful choice of variety – sadly, I’ve tried all the ‘ blight resistant’ varieties on the market and only  one, ‘Crimson Crush’ seems to have any useful level of resistance to this disease.

For slicing (perhaps as an insalata tricolor with tomato, mozzarella and avocado drizzled with pesto….mmmm!)  and for stuffing, beef-steak varieties take some beating. I love Super Marmande but  they all taste wonderful.

Problems with arthritis seem to be becoming more widespread in people of all ages and I’m told that tomatoes are often on the ‘banned’ food list. I can’t imagine life without tomatoes so, feeling such sympathy for those no longer able to eat them, I did a bit of research and it seems that it is the lycopene in tomatoes which makes them problematic for arthritis sufferers. The solution? Yellow tomatoes apparently! So, rather than spending a fortune buying them in the supermarket, just grow your own. There are small any medium sized fruited varieties readily available and, believe me, yellow pasta sauce may look a bit peculiar BUT it tastes just as good as the usual red !

About The Author

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With a BSc in Botany and a further degree specializing in protecting plants from pests and diseases Pippa spent 11 years working for The Royal Horticultural Society at their garden in Wisley, advising gardeners about their gardening problems. More recently Pippa has become a well-loved and respected TV and Radio broadcaster and a prolific writer, with a host of best-selling gardening books to her name. Pippa regularly gives gardening talks and lectures, worked as the horticultural consultant for the ITV murder mystery series 'Rosemary and Thyme' and in 2007 was awarded an honorary Doctorate.

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