The Mortgage-Lifter

Have just come across this wonderful story, which I'm sure some of you will enjoy. Whilst researching the best way to pollinate indoor tomatoes (with an electric toothbrush - without the bristly bit, apparently it imitates the frequency of the bumblebees wing-flap) I came upon the story behind the name of a particular tomato. All thanks to wikipedia;
Mortgage lifter is the name given to a cultivar of tomato developed by M.C. Byles, also known as "Radiator Charlie", because he used it to save his house, selling it for a dollar per plant (back in the 1940s, when "a dollar meant something") in order to pay off his mortgage. When his radiator repair business slumped during the Great Depression, he started cross-breeding his four best tomato plants, until he came up with a stable derivation which he felt tasted better and had larger fruit.[1] He promoted it as being able to feed a family of six, therefore getting the sky-high price of one dollar per plant, and paying off his house in just four years.


It's wonderful to reach the ripe old age of 45 and still find you can be surprised by a vegetable. And a turnip no less. I traded some seedlings with my big brother earlier in the year, he got disappointing ranunculus, I got a row of turnips. Last week taking all my courage, I chose 3 the size of large eggs and added them to a stir fry with leek flower stalks and red peppers. It was a great success and now I'm eager to try more. the turnips were sweet, pure white and crunchy, with a bit of a kick to the flavour. A much underestimated beast, and if they are young and home grown, I can thoroughly recommend them.

My flower and vegetable garden are doing very well this year, thanks to my neighbours new puppies who deter the peacocks from grazing here. Last week we had 33mm of rain/hail in the space of about an hour. This is usually a month's worth. Lots of plants with large leaves had them lacerated, as the hail seemed to be sharply faceted rather than spherical, and I lost a number of rose buds to the storm, but nothing horrendous. One of this year's special plants is my lovely white anemone which I sowed about 3 years ago and is really finally into its stride. It glows in the dusk and has beautiful violet undersides to its outer petals, if you click on the photo you can see this in more detail.