Posts Tagged ‘Heirloom Tomatoes’

Heirloom Tomato and Pepper Seedlings sprouted!

I planted my tomato seedlings on January 15th just before we went skiing and left them under light. I used something similar to this Hydrofarm Germination Station with Heat Mat to keep the soil mix warm and moist.  The soil mix I used was one from Burpee that I found at Lowes called “Organic Seed Starting Mix”.  I mixed in a bit of perlite and moistened the mix before planting my seeds and covering the tray with the plastic dome cover.  We were gone for 10 days and had someone stop by to check the moisture of the soil.  The tray comes with a pad which lines the bottom and soaks up the water for slower release so she only had to add about 1L of water to the tray over the 10 days we were gone.

As soon as we returned home, I was pleased to see almost everything had sprouted.  On February 2nd, I potted up the tomato seedlings into 4″ round pots using a fresh mix of starter soil and perlite.  I did the usual method of planting them up to the bottom of the cotyledon leaves and then stuck them in the cold upstairs bedroom.  I was attempting to give them the “cold treatment”, however after I did some additional reading, the cold treatment for tomatoes is supposed to be just as soon as the cotyledon leaves appear and before the first real set of leaves show up.  Next year I will be more deliberate in my planting and I will give them a 10 – 15 day cold treatment before the first leaves appear.  They got about 5 days of cold treatment before I realized my mistake and just opened the vents and door to my upstairs growing room.  They’ll enjoy some nicer warm weather until they make it into the garden next month.

We decided to pot up our pepper plants on February 9th.  I used the same organic starter mix, perlite, and a very small amount of organic bone meal.  I have two trays of 18 – 3″ square pots for my peppers and I used about 2Tbsp bone meal for each tray.  These plants should continue to grow well until they make it out to the garden early to mid April.

Since I have been very stingy with pictures in the past, I hope you will enjoy the pictures of my potted up plants.

 

2013 Organic gardening is well under way

I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t had time to post any updates – I’ve barely had time to keep the garden going.  So far this year, we’ve added 5 blueberry plants, 3 grape vines, 2 blackberry patches, 2 raspberry patches, strawberry agro towers, and a strawberry patch.

The mild weather allowed me to get a lot in very early this year.  I have 3 tomatoes – two of which I started from seed and a Park’s Whopper I bought from the big-box store.  It’s mid June but the Park’s Whopper already has 40 fruit set and is 5 foot up the tomato tower – remember that in our type garden, one tomato plant goes in the middle of a 3′ diameter 10′ tall cage.  The Park’s Whopper was about 6″ tall when I put it in the ground on April 6th so it’s been growing a little over 2 months.  The other two tomatoes I’m growing are ones I started from seed around March 1st and were about 3″ tall when I put them in the ground early April.  To protect the tomatoes from frost and encourage them to get started, I prepped the bed by putting down Better Reds Plastic Mulch and a Wall O Water tomato tent.  I put the red wall o water over top of the plastic mulch squares to get the medium warmer and ready for the tomatoes.

The other two tomato varieties I’m growing are a Beef Steak heirloom and a Gold Medal Tomato which is supposed to be slightly less acidic and ripen yellow with red streaks up the sides of the fruit.

I know this post is worthless without pictures so if I get some spare time next week, I’ll put some pictures up.

Tomato Cages / Towers and Pruning

One of the things I learned from Len’s book and video is how to support and prune tomatoes.  I won’t go into major detail on the pruning but it involves leaving some of the suckers and pinching off the leaves to get more base stems going up the supports.  His pruning style is similar to that found in the book How to Grow World Record Tomatoes by Charles Wilber who is a Guinness Champion tomato grower.  Len goes into much better detail than I can about pruning in the video you can pickup on his website.

Cages
The growing medium we are using is so loose that it is not possible to steak up a tomato in the traditional manner with a pole, wire cage, or other trellis that sticks in the ground.  Besides the loose medium, the indeterminate tomatoes we are growing can get very large so whatever we do, it needs to be robust enough to support a large plant.  Read the rest of this entry »

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