For the love of tomatoes | Allan Jenkins

How growing a simple tomato turned into an all-consuming passion

Tomatoes were my gateway drug. It seemed so harmless in the heady days when my gardening meant a few window boxes and some flowerpots on an urban rooftop. I could take them or leave them I told myself, though I liked growing my summer geraniums, lobelia, scented roses, climbing clematis: old school planting like the old couple who brought me up.

Tomatoes, though, were competitive. A few members of our Observer team sowed them. It was 2007. I was editor of this magazine. We showed off pictures of our seedlings as they grew into plants. We talked about the merits of different varieties (I was taken by Black Crimea). We were obsessed.

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