We all want to eat better, and saving some money would be a bonus. So how can we do both? Growing your own fruit and veg is a simple way of achieving those targets, and its fun, too!
Having little space is no excuse for not growing a few delicious crops. There are varieties which are bred specifically for container growing so even a balcony can become a mini allotment. Tomato ‘Veranda Red’ from Burpee Europe, is a fine example of how easy it is to make the trip from gardening container to the kitchen even shorter. This dwarf variety of tomato is ideal for smaller patio or balcony pots, and as well as being wonderfully delicious it also has good disease resistance, including against blight.
In these days, which seem more rushed than ever, growing from seed can be a real tonic. Nothing could be easier and the fruits of a seed-grown harvest are much more relished than those that have been bought in a shop.
Hints & Tips – Growing ‘Veranda Red’ Tomatoes From Seed
Sow seeds in a 9cm pot in a proprietary seedling compost.
Maintain a temperature of 18-21°C and in about 7 days you will see small leaves appear.
At 14 to 18 days from sowing plant the individual seedlings into 9cm pots. Lift the plants gently with the cotyledon leaves and place the roots of the plant into a small hole in the compost made with your finger.
Water and grow on in well-lit conditions until the plants are about 40 days old from sowing.
Choose a 3 Litre -5 Litre pot, fill with compost and transplant the young tomatoes into it.
Alternatively, use a window box and fill it with similar compost leaving about 20 cm between the Veranda Red plants.
Water the plants regularly but ensure the compost does not become too wet.
Feed the plants using a recognized liquid feed. Start to feed the plants when the first baby fruit start to develop (usually about 50 days after sowing).
If you notice any dying leaves or dead patches on a leaf take the affected leaf off using a knife or scissors and put it in your compost bin.
‘Tomato Tarte Tatin’ devised for Burpee by the chef Valerie Hamelin
2 Tomato ‘Veranda Red’
2 tbsp Sugar
20 g Butter
Pre-rolled Shortcrust Pastry
2 Slices Goats Cheese
Salt and Pepper
Sprig of thyme
For the caramel, using a non-stick small frying pan with an ovenproof handle, place the sugar in the pan and gently heat until it melts and becomes brown, then add the butter to form a “glossy sauce “.
Place the quartered tomatoes neatly on top of the caramel and add a sprig of thyme.
Cut a disc of the shortcrust pastry and place it on top of the tomatoes, ensuring the pastry is tucked in around the edge of the pan and lightly pressed on top of the tomatoes so everything stays compact whilst its cooking.
Bake in an oven at 185 to 190°C for 15 to 20 mins or until the pastry is golden brown.
Once cooked, remove carefully from the oven. Remove any excess liquid and invert the Tarte onto a flat plate.
Simply serve the warm Tarte with a couple of slices of goats cheese and a nicely dressed rocket salad.
Burpee Europe will be displaying their varieties this year at RHS Chatsworth Flower Show and RHS Flower Show Tatton Park.