Tomatoes A-Plenty – A Plant Update

August 2015: The chili plants are slowly progressing.

August 2015: The chili plants are slowly progressing.

Having last shared the progress of my tomato and chilli plants in July, today I would like to show you more photographs of my plants throughout the summer and the beginning of autumn. It's making me a little sad seeing photos of the sunlight streaming through the windows, now that Berlin is cast into everlasting darkness – ok, I'm being a little dramatic!

August 2015: The tomatoes in our bedroom window are a-plenty.

August 2015: The tomatoes in our bedroom window are a-plenty.

August 2015: The tomatoes on the inside windowsill are taking a little longer to grow.

August 2015: The tomatoes on the inside windowsill are taking a little longer to grow.

August 2015: A red tomato ready for picking.

August 2015: A red tomato ready for picking.

I can safely say that looking after thirteen tomato plants isn't an easy feat. At the height of the summer, we had to water each one at least twice a day. But watching the seedlings grow into big plants, start blossoming and eventually develop fruits made the whole effort more than worth it. Initially being very precious with those first few ripe fruits, we soon began to snack on them whenever we glimpsed a red one.

August 2015: The sun shining through the windows creating beautiful shadows.

August 2015: The sun shining through the windows creating beautiful shadows.

August 2015: Lots of green tomatoes are starting to appear.

August 2015: Lots of green tomatoes are starting to appear.

August 2015: A wall of green.

August 2015: A wall of green.

What most people don't know about tomatoes is that they lose their flavour once they're refrigerated. As cooling produce is sadly a common practice in supermarkets, shop-bought tomatoes often don't taste as good as they could, or should. But fear not: If you happen to be growing your own tomatoes or can purchase them from a local market or greengrocer, you can increase the flavor of any tomato-based dish by simply adding a few fresh, flavoursome fruits. These will, by some strange chemical process, bring out the flavours in even tinned or cooled, bland tomatoes. 

October 2015: As the days and nights are getting colder, the plants are slowly wilting but the tomatoes are still continuing to ripen.

October 2015: As the days and nights are getting colder, the plants are slowly wilting but the tomatoes are still continuing to ripen.

October 2015: The last red tomatoes.

October 2015: The last red tomatoes.

October 2015: The remaining green fruit won't ripen as quickly.

October 2015: The remaining green fruit won't ripen as quickly.

In October, when the nights started to become colder and the sun shifted further westwards, the plants began to slowly turn colour and any remaining fruit took a lot longer to ripen and turn red. Soon, we decided to pick the remaining tomatoes and declare the tomato season as officially over. Most of these are still green but will gradually ripen over the coming months. 

October 2015: The end of the tomato season.

October 2015: The end of the tomato season.

October 2015: The ensuing cold means the tomato leaves are slowly wilting and the fruits don't ripen anymore.

October 2015: The ensuing cold means the tomato leaves are slowly wilting and the fruits don't ripen anymore.

Next weekend, we will regretfully dig up the now rather sorry looking, bare plants and – for the first time in six months – have a clear view out of our windows again.

October 2015: The last tomatoes of the year.

October 2015: The last tomatoes of the year.

October 2015: Most of these will end up in a delicious sweet and spicy tomato chutney – the taste of summer in a jar.

October 2015: Most of these will end up in a delicious sweet and spicy tomato chutney – the taste of summer in a jar.

But don't worry: It isn't over yet. We spent last Sunday cooking up a delicious green & red tomato chutney, which will make an appearance on these parts soon. After all, what better way to preserve the taste of summer than with a homemade sweet and spicy tomato chutney full of your very own tomatoes!

Lilly Wolf