Tomato varieties sampled at Bemboka Garden Club

Bemboka Garden Club hosted well-known local tomato-breeder Patrina Nuske-Small for its March meeting. 

Patrina has been something of a pioneer during the past decade, successfully cross-breeding by combining the compact size of traditional dwarf-variety tomatoes (the tomatoes are normal-sized, but the smaller plant makes for easier growing in confined areas) with those grown on vines. 

Collaboration with an American enthusiast, Craig LeHoullier, and later a small army of volunteers, meant that time for the development of new breeds could be reduced by a half, utilising both Northern and Southern Hemisphere growing seasons.  It takes eight generations to confirm a new variety.  

Patrina's initial hyprids were named after the Seven Dwarfs.

Patrina gave a very interesting talk, explaining how the project developed and the driving forces behind it.  Anyone who has compared the bland taste of a supermarket-purchased tomato with a home-grown one will empathise. 

Thanks to the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI), by making seeds easily available and patent-free, more people will be able to grow their own, reducing the dominance of huge multinational seed suppliers.

There is now a huge range of varieties available, and Patrina brought a selection of her own for members to sample – many different colours, and flavours which were enjoyed by all.  For further information, Patrina can be contacted by email

Possiblly due to the unusually hot summer we have endured, the number of entries into the monthly competitions was slightly reduced, though the quality was up to the usual high standard.

For up-to-date information on forthcoming activities, and general information, please visit the Club’s  website at


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