In search of the perfect trussRSS feed

Posted: Friday 18 August, 2006

by Dan at 11:07am in Growing 8 comments Comments closed

Truss on Sweet MillionsNo, I'm not looking for surgical support! I'm actually on a quest to replicate those perfect, uniformly ripe trusses of tomatoes on the vine which the supermarkets produce and peddle at exorbitant prices. Naturally mine will taste vastly superior, but that's no challenge.

This year I've done much better with my tomatoes than ever before, thanks largely to Sarah Raven's excellent book The Great Vegetable Plot. I've followed her advice of watering from the bottom and feeding from the top, and the results have been brilliant, especially for my cherry varieties, Sweet Million and Super Sweet 100.

The Ailsa Craig have done less well, so there's room for improvement next time around.

Pictured to the right is the closest I've come to that supermarket perfection. But the fruit naturally ripens from the top down, since the top buds flower first and thus set fruit first. The challenge seems to be to get all the fruit on a truss to swell and ripen in the quickest time possible, avoiding over-ripeness at the top.

The quest is really just a minor diversion to keep me interested in watering and feeding them, but if anyone does know the answer please share!



Friday 18 August, 2006 at 12:55pm

Cool colours - they're like a traffic light. We didn't do tomotoes this year, although I kind of wish we had now. Our cucumbers are monsters, mind.

Phil Voice

Friday 1 September, 2006 at 11:23am


I am interested in your comment regarding watering.

"I've followed her advice of watering from the bottom and feeding from the top"

I have come to the conclusion now after my own research that actually 'one crop' tomoatoes is probably the way forward. Maybe stagger planting at 1 month intervals through the season with watering until the first flush of flowers and then stop. Let the tomatoe absorb the goodness of the soil and wait till they ripen. Just let the plant wither and die but retain the tomato.

I think the tomato develops a much better taste and quality like this. Continued watering only gives continuous cropping but less tasty pickings.

Try it, it works:)

All the best




Friday 1 September, 2006 at 8:02pm

Hi Phil

That sounds really interesting, thanks. I will try it next year on a few plants and compare the results. Does it make any difference if these are in a greenhouse or outdoors? I can imagine the greenhouse plants dying off very quickly in the harsh environment?

Phil Voice

Friday 1 September, 2006 at 8:55pm

Hi Dan

I don't know about greenhouse or polytunnel beause I've never done it, but I suspect you are right.

I have fairly heavy soil which helps to retain the water for a while.

All I can suggest as you say is experiment yourself.

My results have been excellent.




Saturday 2 September, 2006 at 8:59pm

I think your tomatoes look great. supermarkets do all sorts of terrible things to their fruit and veg so probably aiming to emulate them is not the way to go.

Phil Voice

Tuesday 12 September, 2006 at 11:55pm

Isn't it a shame that some pillock can spam like this?!


Wednesday 13 September, 2006 at 2:15pm

Yes Phil, we're finding spam a big problem here at the moment. When I get the time we'll move onto the latest version of Movable Type which is much better at filtering spam comments (we do have a filter here but it takes time to maintain if). Anyway, the site's clean again now, at least for a few hours!


Friday 15 September, 2006 at 7:31am

In one of my biology classes, I was taught that commercial tomato producers put unripe tomatos in a chamber and fill the air with the gaseous plant hormone, ethylene. Ethylene makes fruit ripen. So supermarkets cheat. Your tomatoes are beautiful and undoubtably tastier by really ripening "on the vine."

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