Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tomato experiment this year

I am working on a new watering scheme for the tomatoes this year. First I got seeds from the Sustainable food center that are recommended for our area (I did check the A&M list too) and started Early Girl, Brandywine, San Marzano, and Supersweet 100s for this year. I also started a Thai pink egg that did well last year and a black cherry that did well for others. I also got 2 Jaune Flammee from the SJC.
Transplanting was tricky with the weather but they got up potted several times and went into the ground in mid-March. I set gallon milk jugs near each one inverted so I can give them a gallon of water without directing it to the surrounding soil. Calculations are that the plants need 2-4 gallons/week depending on the heat. This also is allowing for direct application of fertilizer without hitting the leaves.

On the advise of many tomato growers, I am nipping all the suckers this year. God they sprout fast and often. I have rooted several and thrown a lot of them away. Pinching them off below bloom level sounds like a great idea in theory--in practice it takes a lot of vigilance but the plants are full of blooms and fruit at this point about 7 weeks after transplant. I did cage all of them so they may not get as much air as they might if I only staked them. We will see. Although we have had a very cool spring it looks like things will heat up soon so now every plant will need some mulch around the jugs.