DCSIMG

A final traffic light harvest

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Greenhouse summer crops are coming to an end – but how do you get the best out of the last tender fruits?

WE’VE all had a poor season in the greenhouse.

Seedlings shrivelled under record March temperatures, followed by a cool, wet summer with very low light intensity.

Add to this a massive influx of aphids finding shelter from the bad conditions outdoors and the resultant mould living on the honeydew – that’s a bad year.

Although my aubergines (Enorma) grew strongly and flowered, it just wasn’t hot enough for them to set fruit.

The peppers did, as you can see, but also acted as a magnet for greenfly.

It got so bad at one point, I lifted all of the pots outside and blasted them with horticultural soap, which controlled them for a bit.

A trial cayenne pepper battled gamely through – the plant’s now hanging upside down from the rafters so the last fruit will ripen.

As ever, the best-tasting tomatoes were Suncherry F1, with Gardener’s Delight providing the most fruit and were delicious.

Firmly at the bottom for taste and production was San Roma.

One of the plants actually grew “blind” (without a leader), which was no good whatsoever.

A few fruit managed to set, but they were rather tasteless. I know it’s supposed to be a cooking tomato, but what’s the point of growing something bland?

If I wanted that, I’d go straight to the supermarket and cut out the middle man.

For the last remaining fruits to ripen, you’ll have to be brutal.

Hack off all the foliage to let as much light in as possible. Remove any flowers/very small fruits – they won’t set or grow any more.

Let the soil dry out. Any energy left in the plant will go straight into ripening fruit, a survival instinct kicking in.

Give them a couple of weeks, then pick all remaining green ones off. I won’t bore you with the recipe for green tomato chutney; does anyone really like it?

Above is a much better way to use them, southern US-style.

RECIPE: Fried green tomatoes

Ingredients:

3 medium green tomatoes

Plain flour

4oz milk

2 beaten eggs

6oz fine dry breadcrumbs

2oz olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut unpeeled tomatoes into 1/2” slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stand for 15 minutes. Place flour, milk, eggs and breadcrumbs in separate shallow dishes.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan on medium heat. Dip slices in milk, then flour, then eggs, then breadcrumbs. Fry the coated slices for 4-6 minutes on each side or until brown.

Add olive oil as needed.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

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