For many the choice of cherry tomatoes is either Sungold or gardeners delight but now there are a few red varieties of tomato that are rivalling gardeners delight for its crown which has lost the RHS award of garden merit. One of the new kids on the block which has been awarded the hotly contested award is Sweet Aperitif.
Sweet aperitif is a cordon (tomato) which produces small (even for a cherry) tomato with a sweet flavour. It is not as sweet as Sungold but for some that is an advantage. I too can find Sungold a little too sweet when fully ripe but it is still one of the best flavoured, Sweet aperitif however is good for those who prefer a red and slightly tangier taste.
In the kitchen
Yield and plant health
Sweet aperitif is a modern tomato, productive and fairly disease resistant. It holds the RHS award of garden merit at the time of writing which is awarded to the top vegetables in its class. It does not have resistance to blight. Tomatoes are plentiful but small. Sweet aperitif is open pollinated which means, if you isolate your plants you can save the seed and it will breed true to the parent.
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 all 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. Remove the lower foliage as it yellows. This encourages air flow around the plant and allows more light to get to the fruit for ripening. The more light the sweeter the tomato.