Friday, 19 February 2010

The beginning of the season...

Super Aguadolce broad beans, first planting under cover.

Pomodori Italiano!

A few days ago I started to get a little buzzy feeling about this year's growing season. Opening my seed box and seeing all the potential is such a thrill. I think I learnt a lot last year, my first true season. For a start, I sowed far too many tomato seeds and each sprout I potted on, and on, and I found it impossible to throw any away. Not only did I become consumed by tomato plants, I left myself with no space (in the conservatory) to sow anything else. Also during the season I wasn't prepared with what to put in after things had finished. This year I want to have brassicas or something ready to go in after my broad beans. I may only put a couple of tomato plants at the allotment because of the whole blight thing last year which totally depressed me. I now have a strange grudge against last years tomato bed. For me it seems poisoned. I don't know what I should plant there. Perhaps I'll find something that will help clarify the ground?

I am sure it's because I have some italian blood coursing through my veins that tomatoes are very important to me. I worked on an Italian film last year, as the UK art director and I got a tip from the production designer that the best flavoured tomato to eat straight is a variety called Datterino, it's a cherry sized tomato. I tried immediately to source it on the internet but couldn't get anything in England. Fortunately I have a 'almost' Auntie in Italy, she brilliantly sourced me a couple of packets. The other variety I am keen to grow is Cuor di Bue, which top chefs Giorgio Locatelli and Raymond Blanc both champion as a cooking tom. Finally I realised last year I absolutely love beef tomatoes so I am also planning to have a couple Marmande plants.

Mmm.. what else shall I be growing?

Oh yes, Diary: today I planted some broad beans, Super Aguadolce variety in the ground which I prepared with some pongy poultry manure and lime. I covered them with my cold frame which I made last year. Note, last year I put the broad beans in in October and over-wintered them, they did quite well. I wanted to try starting them in root trainers this year, which I will but today I saw an opportunity to see what would happen if I tried them this way - we'll see eh?I also pruned the autumn raspberries to the ground too. They need to be weeded around and be fed/ top dressed.