If only nasturtiums were tomatoes…

In my eagerness to get as many tomatoes as possible I left them in the ground too long. I kept what I thought were healthy fruit but after only a few days they have become a watery, white-furred mess. So, it looks like botrytis has stuck again as well as blight.

On the other hand, at 20 degrees – yes, that is the temperature today and it looks like it is going to be a balmy night – the nasturtiums are loving it. They are crawling all over the garden, having withstood the cabbage white butterflies’ onslaught.


Returning to the subject of tomatoes, I am toying with the idea of not growing any next year. I dislike the thought of going without but for wont of a better word the soil has become too corrupted. I might not be able to eat all the nasturtiums, let alone make sauces and chutneys with them, but it seems like time to accept that me and annuals are not compatible.

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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30 Responses to If only nasturtiums were tomatoes…

  1. skyeent says:

    I’ve thought the same as you. If we lived in a warmer climate I’d try tamarillo. But then, tomatoes are also perennial in a warmer climate…..I’m just going to pick my (green) tomatoes, and come up with a plan of campaign for next year. I think they maybe didn’t get enough sun due to my kiwi vine in the polytunnel this year. I rotate them around the tunnel anyway. Starting them early and potting them on is also part of my cunning plan. You could grow something easier, but then you wouldn’t even have the dream of home grown tomatoes one day.

    • Helen says:

      Yes, it is tough growing tomatoes in our climes. I did start them early this year and have been eating them since the beginning of June, so I can’t complain about the loss of a few pounds at the end of the season.

      I wonder if tomatoes suffer from blight etc in the countries they originate from?

      • skyeent says:

        Oh, you’ve done pretty well then! I gather tomatoes prefer drier conditions, humid air is what leads to fungal diseases taking hold. What we grow as gardeners are somewhat removed from the original tiny fruited vines.

  2. Clare Pooley says:

    We didn’t grow tomatoes this year – for the first time ever, I think.

    • Helen says:

      Any particular reason?

      • Clare Pooley says:

        My husband is the one who usually grows them and he wasn’t very well in the spring. (He had a partially slipped disc and had problems walking ). I thought about taking over the job this year but didn’t in the end – lack of time mainly. It has been fortunate in that both my daughter and I have been told we should avoid acidic fruit! It has been strange not having tomatoes to look after.

        • Helen says:

          I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s partially slipped disc. It must be very painful. I hope that he will recover okay.

          I had heard that tomatoes are acidic. One of my friends doesn’t eat them raw because she thinks they cause or exacerbate arthritis.

          • Clare Pooley says:

            He is much better than he was, thank-you but still has a numb patch on his shin and gets tired easily. I had heard that tomatoes seemed to make arthritis worse, though I have never experienced this. I have rheumatoid arthritis. Both my daughter and I have digestive problems and we are trying to cut out all the problem foods. These are mainly our favourite or the most flavoursome foods, unfortunately!

          • Helen says:

            I can imagine it would have to be the most enjoyable food that would have to go! I hope you both find relief from the change in diet, though. And it is good your husband’s back is getting better.

  3. jeffpermie says:

    I sucessfully grew Aubergine for the first time this year and got a decent yield (undercover), I can only assume that more dedicated gardeners would probably give a little more attention than I did and get even better results. Even ifyou just build a small frame to drape a plastic sheet over as a mini polytunnel I bet 3-4 plants would give some decent fruit for a change away from Tomatoes. Have you tried Tomatillos?

    • Helen says:

      No, not tried tomatillos. Do you think there is an advantage in growing them?

      Would love to grow my own aubergines 😊

      • jeffpermie says:

        Tomatillos are quite different and have also quite a few uses, most recipes are all about making salsa but I have included them in stir fries etc. and they were good, two plants can yield loads of fruit in a good year, you just need to be sure to eliminate all new flowers and young fruit husks starting either August or September depending your zone / first frost date.

        Best advantage is that so far I’ve not experienced any pest issues with them.

  4. mortaltree says:

    I find keeping the ground mulched often cuts down on blight. Even with a much cooler year than normal, we did fairly well with tomatoes. They originate from such places as the Galapagos islands, to answer your question I saw further up in the comments. I find they need a good bit of heat, but also plenty of sun, but even more so, tomatoes are heavy feeders and needs lots of fertility without too much nitrogen. Nitrogen of course feeds green leafy growth, often causing problems for fruiting such as soft, watery, disease prone fruit. Potassium may be too low if these negative nitrogen signs are prevalent. Have you ever added a mineral amendment to your soil? I use one called carbonitite which I add to the potting soil of all my seedlings and transplants. It helps a lot. For you I might recommend a highly paramagnetic rock powder such as pink granite, or any granite would probably help. Check out the last chapter in PASSIVE perhaps.

    At any rate, you might try eating thenasturtiums if they are what grows well for you. Buns made of nasturtium leaves perhaps? I remember Alan over at Of Plums and Pignuts mentioned something about the seeds in olive oil being similar to capers.

    Thanks for another intriguing update.

    • Helen says:

      Thanks for your insights. I think the problem could be lack of something in the soil, though overall this time round it is no doubt in part at least due to the wet weather we’ve had recently and overcrowding. I should really have taken the tomato plants out while going was good and ripened the abundance of green tomatoes indoors. I will look into rock salts, though. I read about them on a number of blogs in the States. Not so common here I don’t think.

  5. Karen says:

    Helen, instead of giving up on tomatoes completely next year perhaps you could try using a large pot in a different part of the garden and grow a cherry tomato plant. I did that several years when we lived in New England. Got loads of delicious sweet little tomatoes that were so good.

  6. I know what you mean .. time for me not to grow garlic! Shame …

  7. When my mum lived in the Uk, she grew tomatoes very successfully in pots. Worth a try?

    • Helen says:

      I am growing in pots as well but they have succumbed to blight now. If I had got rid of the plants earlier, this wouldn’t have been a problem, though 😊.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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