growing luscious tomatoes
Summer means true tomatoes, so avourful you can smell them at arm’s length, so juicy your knife must be sharp or serrated. If they weren’t vaguely the same shape and colour, you’d never guess they were related to supermarket tomatoes that have lost whatever avour they once had from being held in cold storage.
The best roof tomato
If you have a rooftop garden, you’ll need big pots of cherry tomatoes, ones that can be plucked like fruit and eaten on the spot. Try Cherry Cocktail with its massive trusses of bright red fruit all through the hot months, or Tommy Toe, which often wins tomato taste tests.
The best kids’ tomato
Buy a mix of cherry tomatoes such as Cherry Rainbow, which will give you bite-sized red, pink, purple and yellow tomatoes, round, oval or pear-shaped. Irresistible: kids have to keep trying each one to see which is best – and ‘best’ will vary as summer becomes autumn.
The best saucing tomato
Oxheart Red, an old variety with thick flesh and very few seeds, cooks to a deep, luscious pulp. It’s brilliant for pasta or pizza sauce, classic bottled tomato sauce or chutney.
The one-upmanship tomato
Green Zebra is the ultimate show-off tomato: sweet, tender, richly flavoured – but still green. “Just taste it and you’ll see,” you can tell your puzzled guest. It’s also incredibly productive.
The tomato salad tomato
Try Black Crim. It looks stunning
The easiest tomatoes of all Buy a pot containing a ready-grown, good-sized bush that has fruit on it, in a self-watering pot that just needs topping up now and then.
Feed with slow-release fertiliser, pick and eat.
(more red than black) and tastes magnificent. One drawback is that you will get a far smaller crop than with almost any other tomato but it’s worth growing at least one bush.
The best cold climate tomato
Siberian will germinate at 4ºC, crop at about 15ºC and keep producing until heavy frosts kill it.
Best hot and humid tomato
Try Moneymaker, Tropic or Thai Pink egg. The latter really do look like pink eggs, about 40cm long and cope even with heavy summer rain. Tropic is excellent for “hot enough to melt the bitumen” areas with round fruit, excellent flavour and a deep red.
The connoisseur’s tomato
Purple Cherokee is, of course, purple, but also deeply, incredibly luscious. Serve slices alternating with green avocado and white cheese: stunning.
My favourite tomato
Grosse Lisse is an old-fashioned classic, productive, reliable, delicious – and I love it.