Grow It Yourself (GIY) – taste the difference

The research I’ve been doing for the Doctorate for the past 4 years or so has focussed on teachers doing PD for themselves. I’ve also just moved house and engaged in a little but of traditional DIY too. There is something satisfying about doing things, maybe it’s the accomplishment, maybe for me the learning too. This also extends to gardening and in April I blogged about trying to grow some Italian heritage tomatoes. I wasn’t sure how I would get on as I saved the seeds from a tomato I had bought in a local green grocers whilst I was in the Scottish Borders for a weekend. Once I had germinated the seeds in my flat on the window sill I ended up with a large number of plants. I then found a couple of willing volunteers to lend me some space in their greenhouses. I am really pleased to report that, possibly due to the great weather, the results and yield has been impressive.

A photo of tomatoes
Italian heritage tomatoes, grown in North East Scotland

Once the harvesting started I had the chance to try a few recipes. The first thing I did was to roast the tomatoes in Scottish rape seed oil with some fresh herbs and a little chilli. This made a great arrabiata style sauce which went well with linguine. I also added the tomatoes to a pizza topping and I think they’d probably make a really rich soup too, though I’ve yet to try that (recipe suggestions welcome!). But the thing I’ve enjoyed most is a simple tomato salad. The texture, colour and deep flavour mean they are ideal for this when combined with other varieties of tomatoes, and served up with a little salt and pepper or herbs like oregano or fresh basil. I could easily imagine people in Rome or on the Italian Riviera growing these tomatoes and eating them in this way.

A photo of tomato salad
Home grown, heritage tomato salad
Given the success of this experiment I’ll be saving the seeds again, and hopefully be enjoying heritage tomatoes on the Tayport Riviera next year. The next couple of months will see me focusing on writing about DIY PD, but I’m looking forward to some more GIY (Grow It Yourself) in the spring. And I’d also recommend giving this a try yourself, with tomatoes or other vegetables, and if you do I’d love to hear how you get on.

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