Dancing with Smurfs

The tomato and potato breeder Tom Wagner is responsible for some of our more unusual tomato plants including Green Zebra. Dancing with Smurfs is another that got tongues wagging at my local allotment.

A blue/red cherry tomato, high in the antioxidant anthocyanin which actually becomes more blue in the UK due to our colder, shadier weather.

In the kitchen: Dancing with Smurfs are a cherry tomato for eating raw. They don’t have the sweetness and flavour punch of  Sungold but make an interesting addition to salads. These really do have to be properly ripe to eat. Look for reddening on the sunniest side.

Yield and plant health: Germination was good and plant growth strong. Both indoor and outdoor tomatoes ripened, although they are quite a late season crop. Fruit was a little prone to splitting. Do not be surprised if the leaves curl quite dramatically. This is normal for the variety. Looking on the web as this was only developed in 2012 you may get some variation in plants and between suppliers as growers improve the selection over time.

Grown again: I will grow these going forward as a fun novelty  but wont dedicate large amounts of space to it.

Type: Cordon

Suppliers:

Seedspro

Grow your secret garden

 

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Growing:

Sow tomato seeds from January (for greenhouse/conservatory tomatoes) to April (outdoor tomatoes) and keep at a temperature of 18 a 20 degrees c. Germination should take 7 to 14 days.

I sow 6 seeds in a small seed tray, making sure there is at least an inch between  seeds. I then cover with half a centimetre of vermiculite, water and place in a heated propagator in a location that receives plenty of light.

Once your tomatoes sprout the challenge is to give them sufficient light to stop them getting leggy. A sunny window ledge in a cool room, a heated conservatory or greenhouse kept above 12 degrees c are ideal. You will need to turn tomatoes grown on a window ledge often as they will grow towards the light. You can also use LED grow lights to supplement the light they get. Gently blowing the leaves daily may also encourage them to be more stocky.

When the seedlings are large enough to handle (2-4 leaves), transplant into individual 3 inch pots. Pot on as required.  Plant out, 2-3 ft apart after al risk of frost has passed.

Cordon tomato plants require support from about  4 inches. They will then need further tying in as the plant grows. Pinch out the side shoots that grow between the stem and the leaves before they reach 2cm long. Take the tops off outdoor tomatoes after two trusses have set fruit. In unheated greenhouses after 4 trusses and in heated green houses, stop in September to allow remaining fruit to ripen.

When tomatoes are young keep the soil moist but not damp. Water from the base to reduce humid you around the leaves which encourages blight.  As they start to fruit you will need to keep them consistently watered, daily if necessary to prevent fruit putting sudden spurts of growth on and splitting.