Each and every year I grow tomatoes and each and every year they get blight. I honestly can’t remember a single year since 2004 when tomato blight hasn’t come along to destroy all my work at the final teasing green fruit hurdle. This year, for the first time, my greenhouse based tomatoes managed to avoid blight, instead it was the White Fly which came and destroyed those after a handful of Sungolds reached the dinner plate. My allotment tomatoes on which I had placed all my tomato crop hopes, 18 plants and 7 varieties, all got wiped out together last weekend. Sub Arctic, Alisa Craig, Orange Banana, Costoluto and a couple more varieties all gone, not one fruit delivered.
There is a good reason for the annual scourge of blight of course; the climate in Surrey and Sussex is getting colder and wetter (as per my recent article), the summer sun and increased moisture boosts humidity and suddenly we’ve got perfect conditions for blight. I think I received at least 5 Hutton period email alerts from blightwatch.co.uk but honestly what am meant to do? It’s like an alert notifying you that your days are numbered, there’s not much I can do about the outdoor plants to protect them.
And so that’s it, from this day forth I’m calling off tomato growing – there has to be a better use of my time than monitoring propagators, planting on tomato plant seedlings, potting up, watering, monitoring the heat in the greenhouse, opening windows, closing doors, watering again, feeding etc. When you really think about it tomatoes are not worth the effort at all, not when you can buy them at a reasonable price on the vine at a decent supermarket.
Furthermore my elderly neighbour is tomato mad, he has a very large greenhouse and he passes them over the fence like I hand out courgettes. MrsGrow isn’t best happy but I’m done with tomatoes, blight has defeated me. Let’s call the whole thing off.