As I'm not growing quite as much this year I've decided to dispense with growing potatoes, which I can buy locally for next to nothing anyway (although I do admit they're very satisfying to grow). In there place I've decided to stick with the nightshades (solanaceae) though so it doesn't mess up my rotation plan.
I've also trying to be a little smarter with my gardening and trying to reduce labour. I've decided to take a leaf out of Curtis Stones book and plant my plants through weed membrane. The idea being that I won't have to weed the plot & it should retain a lot of it's water as well.
I've tried to use weed membrane like this before but it's never really worked for me because it starts to unweave as soon as you cut the holes for the plants. Reading a few books and blogs apparently burning holes into the fabric is the way to go as it seals the edges. I will also be able to reuse this year after year as well.
I used an old bean can to burn around for the tomatoes to go into. This is proper recycling as this was the same can I used to measure sheep feed with!
I'm planting these tomatoes very close together as well. The plan is that I'll have these 50 or so plants in a 10ft by 4ft bed but each plant is only allowed to set one truss of fruit. It then gets pruned so all it's energy goes into that first truss. I get a lower yield per plant but because I can fit so many more in I should still make good use of the bed and each truss would be of good quality and ripen faster.
The bed is split into two with larger plants at the back and younger, smaller plants at the front, this should give me two flushes of fruit from this bed. There's also a huge mix of varieties (nine or ten I think) so I can see which ones do well under this system.
Anyone else planting tomatoes outside? Who else has tried a system like this? Hopefully it'll produce a glut I can preserve by canning!