We are attempting to grow Heirloom Brandywine tomatoes because the little packet of seeds said "The best tasting tomato ever!" How could one leave the packet on the shelf after reading that claim? Then it has a quote of it's own from an unknown source that describes the flavour as "very rich, loud and distinctively spicy". Wow all in a tomato! We bought the packet. We also bought some wee tomato plants that said they had good flavour and grew well - for comparison purposes.
We are only a few rungs up the gardener hierarchy and our fingers are only tinged with the faintest of emerald and it is not going well for the Brandywines. I think we talked up our anticipation of their taste too much. They were looking fine when we left on holiday. They had germinated and were growing beautifully - they even had some flowers. While we were away, the other tomatoes took their revenge and fell all over them with their green fruit. The normal tomatoes broke off (no doubt to their delight) the only Brandywine branch with flowers on it.
We stepped into the fray and reorganised the garden; tying up the normal tomatoes so there was no way they could squash the Brandywines and put in a bigger stake for the Brandywines so they could grow straight and true without fear. Things were going well until I noticed that the stem on the best plant was partly broken and while the tops are still green and growing well - how long will the nutrients get through? I think this partial break was a last ditch effort by the normal tomatoes as we were separating them from on top of the Brandywines.
The normal tomatoes have produced their first ripe tomato. The flavour was fabulous; not too sweet, almost peppery. A fine tomato that we just ate straight off the plant not even waiting for a meal time. I thought this might put the normal tomatoes at ease - less worried about the Brandywines, who still don't have any wee tomatoes at all.
But it appears the normal tomatoes want complete victory and they have been collaborating with the tomatillos. I was excited a few days ago to see some lovely, yellow flowers on the Brandywine tomato plants. Hooray finally we may get to taste the best tomato ever. But on closer inspection they were tomatillo flowers and the tomatillos are now trying to grow over the Brandywine tomatoes.
So while I hope that we may yet get some flowers and a chance to taste the best tomato ever, it is not looking good. Brandywine heirloom tomatoes maybe the best tasting tomato ever but they are bit crap at standing up for themselves against more garden variety relatives and one of its leaves is going yellow too.
Learning without doing
12 hours ago