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What organic seed provider for cherry tomatoes do you recommend

I can call myself lucky when I bought a seed package of Mr Fothergill's Cherry tomatoes in Winter 2016, which produced until 2021 shiny, lovely tasting cherry tomatoes which never failed to grow. Seeding time was around 22 of February, germination inside 7 days, needed to be re-potted after 4 weeks and was ready to be planted out by mid April/first week of May, depending on the weather.
With the Gardeners World magazine last year came a new package of my Mr Fothergill's Red Cherry tomatoes which I was happy to use. It germinated normal and looked all good, until planted out, and disaster stroked. The leaves started to deform like the plant was under attack from something, and the tomatoes themselves looked by no means like my shiny Red Cherry but where dull and didn't taste. Total failure. Same name on the package, but completely different product. I wrote to Westerland as I had topped up my bed with their peat-free tomato growing bags assuming the soil is poisoned.
Result: one growing season in the bin.

This year, I did everything to be successful. I took out the entire soil in the bed and added it to the corner to turn it into compost. After my chilli plants and all other plants have grown so marvellous with the Jack's Magic, I filled up the bed with Jack's Magic.
I had bought Gardeners Delight, the favourite of Monty Don, and which looked like my red Cherry tomatoes. They were only available as Mr Fothergill's, where we live. No other had Gardeners Delight.
25 February, I had sown the seeds. It took more than 2 weeks before they germinated. The grow was very slow. They came into the greenhouse at the end of March. Now, at the end of the second months, I'm confronted with the situation that they have hardly grown. I never had so tiny tomato plants mid April. Even my old Red Cherry tomatoes grew more in height in April 2021 than the plants today that have experienced only 2 nights of -1 frost and always day temperature above 9 degrees.
I have the opposite problem with my chilli plants. They grow so well that I run out of space for them inside, because it's too cold in the greenhouse for them.

I'm literally fed up. If I had known that, I would have kept seeds from the old tomato plants.
While looking at the package, I noticed something that I can turn into a sarcastic joke about the plant is waiting to be packed until July...

I will never buy Mr Fothergill's seeds again. After reading this, I'm sure that similar happened last year even I can't prove if it was the soil or the seeds.

Do you know an organic seed provider that has got reliable cherry tomatoes that grow as they should grow and taste as they should taste and the plants look like normal plants?

I my garden.



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,923
    “Packed in the year ending July 2023” … what’s wrong with that? 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Nothing wrong with that @Dovefromabove , but the tomatoes seem to believe they have to wait prentending they were packed in 3 months time. I just took 2 plants upstairs and have put on the south window. I will take them down again when it gets warmer. 
    Thanks @pansyface for the link, I will try them. 

    I my garden.

  • B3B3 Posts: 27,334
    edited April 2023
    That date just means they were packed in the year which ends in July. This year's batch will probably have July 24
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • LilyWLilyW Posts: 41
    not surprised they aren’t growing well, Everything is slow this spring!

    In answer to your question though, I have taken to sowing the seeds from my Sainsbury’s tomatoes and they always grow. I have currently on my windowsill some small sweet cherry seedlings, and some standard sized toms too. It feels like I am getting toms for free and I know each year that this produces good fruit.

    why does everyone buy expensive seeds? Unless of course you are after some snazzy types!
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,313
    That packet looks fine to me.
    All seed are packed in year ending xxx/xxxx and the expiry date on those is 2026. Many of the packets of seed I have are years past the Sow Before date - they germinate well inc. many packets from T&M
    I think you've just been unlucky this year.

    I save seed from heritage varieties as they will come true the following year.
    For F1 varieties (e.g. Shirley) I buy seed as saved seed will not come true from an F1 parent.

    If you want to try something different Simpsons Seeds have some very unusual tomato varieties or Premier Seeds Direct for good prices.

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • I had understood the meaning of the date. I watched a few minutes GW and when I saw Monty’s tomatoes, my ones are bigger. It’s as @LilyW says, everything is slow. The 2 plants that I took upstairs show signs of not feeling good. I will let them recover first. 

    I my garden.

  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy Posts: 6,750
    It was reported a couple of seasons ago that the RHS  have  taken away the AGM (award of garden merit) for Gardeners delight. They stated that the strain was not, showing the true characteristics any more and was performing poorly in trials. Unfortunately it's thought that most seed is grown by a very few companies abroad,  and that the stock is being regrown and reselected from too narrow a range of materials.  (Effectivly inbreeding). There are other better more modern cultivars available. 
    That said the organic catalogue sell a good selection( tho this is owned by Dobies who in turn are owned by Suttons) . Marshalls are good for veg,  not  organic. 
    The majority of big brand seed companies buy in their stock and simply package it in their colours,  most are owned by Suttons, T&M or  linked in some way. 
    AB Still learning

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,313
    There's an 'improved' Gardener's Delight you may want to consider - Gardener's Ecstacy'%20Ecstasy,%2C%20zingy%2C%20cherry%20sizes%20fruits.

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • B3B3 Posts: 27,334
    Just had some delicious tomatoes with my breakfast. I'm going to squish one and have a go.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • BenCottoBenCotto Posts: 4,691
    Delight … Ecstasy … I can’t wait for the next iteration.

    @Allotment Boy, thank you for that commentary on seed company ownership. I have long thought that there is little or no difference in the various seed companies’ offerings because they’re mostly sourced from the same wholesaler.
    Rutland, England
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