Ernie and the giant tomato: He's in the sauce for months
ERNIE Patmore's five-metre tomato plant may not be nudging any world records, but it will keep him well stocked in spaghetti sauce for months.
The 77-year-old former banana farmer from Chillingham has a knack for producing gigantic produce.
"I can't get any higher up the tomato plant with the 10-foot ladder now, so it's getting a bit dangerous to trim," Mr Patmore said.
"But it's getting so big I've had enough tomatoes for the last two months with the one bush and I can see it lasting a while yet.
Despite his triffid-like tomato plants, Mr Patmore is humble about his green thumb.
"I just use a bit of fertiliser and some organic food really," he said.
"The secret is just to have them well-drained with good soil and keeping them topped up with water.
"A couple of people have said I'm an amazing man, but I don't know about that one."
Mr Patmore was growing bananas for 40 years before getting out of the game 10 years ago.
"I've always got to be doing something. I couldn't sit still," he said.
To accompany his steady supply of tomato-based pasta sauces, Mr Patmore said he had one other go-to recipe. "It makes delicious tomato and onion pie. Just beautiful."
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