A bit of history about Nisbett’s Victoria
At the end of 2014 Ivan and Jill decided to try and find out about the beginnings of the Tomato Industry, and with Jan’s help we began researching the origin. At the Priaulx Library we found a book called “The History of the Tomato” written by PJ Girard. In his book he quoted the names of 5 tomatoes that were grown in Guernsey at the beginning of the development of the culture of tomato growing. We looked further into references about the varieties he mentioned but with little success, although most of them were quoted in “The Vegetable Garden”, a definitive book written in 1885 by Vilmourin about the vegetables grown at the time. We then approached the supplier of many of our Heritage seeds and he was able to locate some Nisbett’s Victoria seeds for us. We had been unsuccessful because the name had not been spelt the way it had been written in Girard’s book.
We decided to go with our original idea, to promote tomato growing beginning with the Victorian era.
Tomatoes at this time were thought to be poisonous and not suitable as food – that is until a medical article proclaimed them as a great vegetable, and so ideas changed and the tomato became a ‘must have’ food.
Our experience of growing Nisbett’s Victoria – ‘too fruity for their own good’
In April 2015 we had NV seeds delivered, we produced and printed 500 seed packets and launched the Guernsey Tom project in the courtyard of our neighbours, National Trust of Guernsey’s Folk and Costume Museum. We gave out seed packets of Nisbett’s Victoria (not Nisbitts or Nesbitts) for the public to grow. As no-one had any firm knowledge about the tomato size and shape we eagerly awaited the first ripe tomato. During our own propagation process, we learned that the plant produces the biggest truss of flowers we have ever seen, and in order to achieve bigger fruit decided to prune the flower trusses, which has improved the size of the fruit. As our own tomatoes ripen, we acknowledge that the heavy and prolific trusses are a tricky habit of this variety. Nisbett’s Victoria tomatoes are simply ‘too fruity for their own good’. If you’re interested in learning how to deal with the problem of heavily trussing tomato plants, please click on the following link : VWKG ‘Pruning Nisbett’s Victoria’
Congratulations to David Lanoe’s on his first ripe Nisbett’s Victoria
On Wednesday 22nd July, we visited Dave Lanoe who’d been in touch to say that his NV’s were ripe and ready to eat. The photographs show NV’s prolific growth and Dave’s essential technique of supporting the trusses with string. Congratulations to Mr. Lanoe and many thanks for his support of our heritage tomato growing project.
David Lanoe’s Tomato Growing Conditions
Sowed: Wednesday 8th April (the day after the launch)
Planted: seedling compost/trays, then bottomless pot and planted in big pot when bunch out
Compost: mix of soil/States soil conditioner (Chouet)/Coir.
Feed: all the time liquid feed, Miraclegrow. Occasionally bag feed eg., blood, fish bone
Watering Technique: when saucer empty or just damp = time to water.
How do Nisbett’s Victoria tomatoes taste?
Twenty people can cook a cake from the same recipe and twenty different cakes will result! The same may apply to NV tomatoes. The plum-shaped tomatoes are quite thick skinned and ‘floury’, well seeded and juicy enough. They’re good to eat with plenty of salt and a drizzle of olive oil and probably good for cooking and preserving. Please get in touch with details of your Nisbett Victoria crops, as we’re interested to compare notes on production and taste. Please email Ivan Le Tissier