Saturday, 12 March 2011

Lessons in the garden :: Tomatoes


I'll be the first to admit that I have been shocked by the insane growth of my tomato plants this year. When I first planted out the seedlings I was very careful to also put in the stakes at the same time, so as to not damage the roots down the track. The problem was that I put in four foot stakes, and a foot of that disappeared under the ground, leaving me with three foot stakes... if you look at the height of Mia compared to the height of my tomatoes then it's fairy apparent that my stakes were never going to be enough.

Luckily for me there is a lot of 'stuff' around this property, so it wasn't all that hard to find some seven foot stakes to put in later {and clearly my plants roots haven't been to badly effected} and as I've mentioned before, my Uncle surprised me by putting much better netting over my plants... but still they grow.

One of my plants has grown up to the top, then bent over and is currently tied to the other side of the structure {making the plant about twelve feet from base to tip} and is completely laden with truss tomatoes.

So while I will take some lessons from this adventure, like more aggressive and decisive pruning earlier in the season; and better staking and spacing between my plants; overall we're pretty chuffed with the outcome of this one.

They're pretty awesome...

I've also been reading the new issue of Organic Gardener Essential Guide which is all about veggies, and there is an excellent article in there about growing tomatoes where they talk about starting them off really 'meanly' in a dry, root bound pot. The ultimate goal is to get earlier fruit I think, lower on the plant, to I think I'll make a note-to-self to have a go at this method next year.

In the mean time, tomatoes are in season, and I'll be coming up with lots of ways to enjoy or store them for later.