June 12, 2008

Tomato Planting at the farm

The seeds sprouted, the plants were nurtured, and the soil in the vegetable garden was finally warm enough to put the tomato plants in the ground.  Jodi, my head gardener, likes to wait until the soil temperature stays pretty consistently at 65-degrees F or about 18-degrees C in order to speed up growth.  Many people ask me what my favorite tomato is, but that’s a question I simply cannot answer.  There are so many wonderful varieties to choose from and I love to grow an unusual assortment.  I purchase many of the seeds from Johnny's seeds, but I also make a point of collecting seeds in my travels, and this year’s harvest will also include tomatoes from seeds purchased in Italy.  Plus, and in true heirloom tradition, tomatoes, such as Ruby Gold, Tangerine, Persimmon, and Green Giant grew from seeds passed on to me from other gardeners. Click here to read more about heirloom seeds and seed exchanges. Here’s a complete list of what we have growing this year – 25 different varieties and 96 plants in all.  I cannot wait to pick!!!

Black Prince (6)
Cherokee Purple (6)
Green Zebra (3)
Tigerella (3)
Orange Blossom (3)
Yellow Taxi (3)
Striped German (6)
Paul Robeson (6)
New Girl (3)
Better Boy (6)
Early Girl (3)
Sungold (6)
Tomatoberry (6)
Valencia (3)
Eva Ball (3)
Tomatillo: green (3), purple (3)
Palla di Fuoco (3)
Cuore di Bue (3)
Reduna Ibrido (3)
Costuolo Fiorentino (3)
Tangerine (3)
Ruby Gold (3)
Green Giant (3)
Persimmon (3)

Come and see the tomato patch and our technique for supporting the vines.

This is Erika hammering 8-foot bamboo poles into the soil to form
tripod supports.  Notice the asparagus behind her – that harvest is
over and it’s important to allow the late shoots to mature into a ferny
growth.  This is how the roots become energized and get strong for next
spring’s production.

Jodi explains the importance of planting deeply, which forces the tomato to grow more roots, which makes for a stronger plant.

Hmmm…I wonder why Jodi isn’t wearing any gloves? 

A tomato is planted at the base of each tripod leg.

Meanwhile, Erika ties a string to the top of each bamboo pole.

Erika cuts each string a bit longer than the pole.

These are the metal hooks that the strings are tied onto.

The hooks are pushed into the soil making the string taut against the pole.  Nice shade of nail polish, Erika!

This is a box of reusable tomato clips that we bought from Johnnyseeds..  These clever little rings are the best supports
that I’ve ever used.  They are gentle on the plants and there’s no
tying involved.

The string fits into a groove in the opened clip.

The clip closes around the tomato vine.  More clips are added as the vines grow.

Click here for more...