Monday, July 26, 2010

My tomatoes!

Here's a shot looking into the greenhouse this week. When we first moved on to the farm (2006) we didn't use the greenhouse.....Then a friend brought us some homegrown tomatoes YUM - there is no comparison in the flavour between a store bought and a homegrown tomato - and ours in the garden got the blight (It can be quite rainy here in August/September).....So I asked my mum if we could grow a couple of plants in the greenhouse.....Apparently my idea of a couple and her idea of a couple are a mite bit different....


Below: A shot of a INdeterminate or Vining variety strung up. I have to remove the "suckers"


Same plant below with 2 "suckers" removed from where the leaf joins the stem.....(NOTE: These suckers can be rooted early in the season for extra plants.....)

A new variety we're trying out "Tomacchio" apparently super sweet tomatoes that are great for sun drying or dehydrating....I haven't had one yet - my kids get to them - hard to be mad....Darn the kids ate my tomatoes!


A shot of my determinate or bush varieties of ROMA tomatoes.....they are my favourite type! Awesome salsa, awesome sauce, awesome flavour! I tie up their cages usually in more than one spot as they eventually fall over with the weight of their fruit....


At a certain point in the summer I prune the bush varieties - I cut out extra leaves and new flowers....enough is enough!!! I did it after this photo was taken....

And I have a monster beefsteak coming.....

An "Early Girl" looking great!

My grandfather was a horticulturist and created his own f1 varieties...His cherry tomatoes were amazing - my kids still talk about them (He died at 99 3 years ago!). He kept tomatoes all winter inside and had early tomatoes each spring until his late 90s, yes LATE 90s!!!! My mum has tomatoes and is now busy teaching me......
I never think we'll have enough and come September I have to phone friends and beg them to take tomatoes off my hands.....

The photo above was taken after I pruned the plants back. I took 2 totes of leaves out of the greenhouse! The vining tomatoes I chopped half of the bottom 2 or 3 leaves off and I did a lot of thinning in my bush varieties - airflow and light into the middle is my goal....Can you see a difference between the photo above and the first photo of the post?


A shot of the de-suckered plant with it's bottom leaves trimmed....(And can you see the chickweed growing in the ground behind. We ate a lot early this season in our salad!)


And above is what happens when you think a Vining or indeterminate plant is a roma when you plant it.......Lots of huge branches with fruit everywhere lying on the ground....It took me a long time to tie this one up.

We have the greenhouse on drip irrigation, fertilize with 8-4-4 organic fertilizer, bone meal and fish compost. Little boy pee diluted 10:1 is a great amendment as well.....We plan to winter our layers in this greenhouse with access to outside (back their henhouse in under cover for the winter) ...which should make for some rich soil!

I read last year somewhere that at a certain point all the leaves are taken off the plants to promote ripening....I may try it this year....

I bought a few "heirloom" varieties and except for the "Green Zebra" they are not growing or producing well.....The right side of the greenhouse is mostly heirlooms......

I'm hoping to finish last years tomatoes before these ones ripen :)

Hope this helps someone out there......

2 comments:

jane said...

You have good heavy rafters, that's my problem I need rafters. I am a little confused. You say you are eating last years tomatoes, do you mean that you put up? Surely you do not mean fresh?? Do you? Love the greenhouse. It looks very well built.

MamaLou said...

I knew rafters was your problem....the greenhouse is well built but not to code and uninsurable. I have to dig snow off the roof all winter! The plastic is about to go too (it's pretty hard getting snow off plastic and not damaging it!).....We may replace with corrugated plastic on the roof for snow sliding reasons :)
We actually have wires strung up above the plants with twine to each plant that we reuse each year.
I canned A LOT of tomatoes and eventually resorted to throwing them in ziploc bags in the freezer...which with romas is a no work project....and works well! We also got a dehydrator near the end and I will be drying a LOT more this year!