Is there anything more difficult than growing a fruitful tomato plant?

Every year, growing a decent tomato represents the supreme challenge, writes Janet Street-Porter

Friday 16 July 2021 21:30
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<p>The half dozen plants I bought in May were kept indoors during the horrible rain. Big mistake</p>

The half dozen plants I bought in May were kept indoors during the horrible rain. Big mistake

The annual battle with tomato plants is in full swing. Every year, growing a decent tomato represents the supreme challenge. I might have walked over 200 miles from Edinburgh to London and produced dozens of TV shows over the years, but rearing a fruitful tomato plant from seed is more difficult than dealing with challenging creatives or navigating non-existent footpaths.

Two years ago, when I moved from Yorkshire to Norfolk, I asked the removal company to transport my tomato plants from their cosy greenhouse in Nidderdale to an overgrown walled garden in the Broads. I had lavished so much attention on the ruddy things I could not bear to leave them behind. Amazingly, they not only survived the lorry journey but thrived, producing dark red exotic fruits with names like Duke of Burgundy – probably because the weather that August was hot.

I had a repeat success last year, with plants costing 50p from the bargain bin at the local farmshop. They produced a bumper crop (granted, they were run-of-the-mill fruits of the Moneyspinner variety) with little hands-on nurturing.

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