Forum home Fruit & veg

New veg patch

I recently discovered, much to my joy, that there was a narrow strip of soil (albeit choked with weeds and overgrown self-seeded Buddleja plants) that could potentially be tidied up and improved so as to cultivate a few vegetable plants. I currently live in a block of flats and am practically surrounded by tarred and concrete surfaces so to find some soil that was able to be dug and planted really made me rather excited. This narrow strip of soil is located in our communal bicycle lock up so has the added advantage of being fairly secure.

After a few hours of pruning back some of the Buddleja plants to restrict their wayward lateral growth, cutting down some laburnum saplings and pulling up a few large thistle plants the bare, stoney surface of the earth finally appeared before me.

I had in the interim purchased three tomato plants - a pair of Roma plum tomatoes and a solitary grafted Beefsteak tomato plant. Their leaves were quite yellow by the time of planting as they had been left in their small pots a bit too long and the signs of malnutrition were becoming more apparent by the day. A generous dose of homemade garden compost was incorporated into the soil during the planting process and the tomato plants have started to put on healthy growth and have greened up noticeably thanks to a fresh supply of nitrogen and other nutrients.

Here are the three young tomato plants (first two photos of the Roma plants and third the Beefsteak):

I’m curious as to whether the three tomato plants will cross pollinate each other causing the resulting fruits to not be true to type. Can anybody please tell me whether this is likely to happen to them?


  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532
    Yes and no.  Yes, they will probably cross-pollinate, but this year's fruits won't be affected; they will be as described in the catalogue.  But if you save seed from them and sow them next year, the resulting plants will be cross-breeds.  The fruits you get from them may be wonderful, worthless or anything in between.
  • HippophaeHippophae Posts: 154
    Excellent feedback thank you josusa47. Quite relieved to hear that the current season’s fruits won’t be affected. Don’t intend to collect any seeds from them so not an issue with regards future generations, but very interesting to know all the same!
  • SkandiSkandi Northern DenmarkPosts: 1,002
    Most tomatoes do not cross pollinate out-crossing percentage chance in tomatoes varies with cultivar but is somewhere in the region of 0-5%. I save my own tomato seeds from different cultivars in the same greenhouse and sofar I have not had anything off type crop up.

    As to this seasons fruit the only plant I am aware of that can be affected by the wrong cross is sweetcorn.
  • HippophaeHippophae Posts: 154
    Remember to support the Beefsteak tom well - hefty fruit but well worth growing.

    I actually bought some bamboo canes to do precisely that, but the ground is so hard and full of stones that I can barely dig deeper than a trowel’s length so not sure that this would be sufficient to keep the stake secured. I may need to have a think about alternative solutions.
  • HippophaeHippophae Posts: 154
    I decided to chop up all of the buddleja and laburnum trimmings and weeds with my secateurs and opted to spread them on the soil around the tomato plants to serve as a moisture conserving, weed suppressing mulch. Looks okay, but don’t want it to rob the soil of nitrogen. 

  • HippophaeHippophae Posts: 154
    Spotted a few of these ladybird larvae scouting for aphids in the vicinity. Should assist in helping to keep pest populations under control. Is this the larva of a native species or is it that of an Asian harlequin ladybird? It was quite large. There must have been about fifteen in total with most of them basking motionlessly on leaves in the sunshine.

  • Womble54Womble54 WimbledonPosts: 332
    I love the thought of some tomatoes thriving in a weedy bed in the middle of a concrete jungle. Well done and good luck for a great harvest this summer.
  • HippophaeHippophae Posts: 154
    Womble54 said:
    I love the thought of some tomatoes thriving in a weedy bed in the middle of a concrete jungle. Well done and good luck for a great harvest this summer.
    Thank you! Sometimes you have to make do with what you’ve got. Will be posting plenty more updates I’m sure. 
  • HippophaeHippophae Posts: 154
    Much appreciated Busy-Lizzie. Gosh I suppose that settles it then. The larvae in the photos in the link you shared look exactly like the ones near my patch! Ah well as long as they do their job.
Sign In or Register to comment.