My tomato growing has well and truly started in earnest so I thought that before too much time gets away on me I thought id better start documenting it all and share the growing journey with you.
If you have following along, you will recall my visit with my neighbour Norm. A tomato growing expert in my books. He is teaching me all he knows and of course as with any good gardening venture, it all starts with good soil preparation. I should also inform you that we are on target for the seedlings to go in at the end of October.
I know, I thought it was a bit late too, but I'm going along with the pro, so October it is. It is also a certainty for the frosts to be all over by this late in the season too.
Introducing the Mortgage Lifter and Grosse Lisse families. These seedling have all been grown from seeds that Norm had saved from last season's crop. He has even told me not to buy any seedlings as we will be able to have a go at growing some of these.
I actually did a little Google search on these varieties as I wasn't very familiar with them and it was interesting to note that the Mortgage Lifter tomatoes are one of the oldest varieties of tomatoes. The story goes that the guy who bred them managed to sell enough of these beauties to pay off his mortgage in only six years, hence the name.
Just last week, Norm has told me that he has put Lime in his veggie patch which will help to balance the pH levels of the soils. Not too much though, just a few handfuls.
He will then let this breakdown and work its way into the soil and then in another weeks time he will be adding some composted cow manure to the veggie patch and let that settle in for another couple of weeks.
Im loving the messiness and randomness in the patches at the moment. As you can see, we have the Cos lettuces that have self seeded all over the place, two Coriander plants and the Sweet Peas in the bottom right hand corner with all the Lime sprinkled in between.
Cam pulled out the last of the Broccoli, leaving just the lettuces, some self seeding Coriander and the Sweet Peas at the end of the patch when the tomatoes will go. He also sprinkled some of the Lime that we were able to salvage from the last of the pile or the 'Beach' as the kids liked to call it out at the farm.
Next week we will add some of the composted chicken manure that is now sitting on the compost heap from when Cam cleaned out the coop a couple of weeks back. Norm reckons this will do fine, and we will leave it for another few weeks in order to give it enough time to break down properly. Apparently the high nitrogen content in the chook poo can be a little harsh for little seedling such as the tomatoes if its not composted enough.
It may be too late, but you can just see the Broad Beans having a crack down at the far end of the patch. We found some seeds in the shed and I thought the kids would enjoy planting them, which they did. They are flowering now so hopefully we can manage to grow a few beans.
Norm uses composted cow manure that you can purchase in bags at your local Bunnings or garden centre and they start from about $3.50 a bag. He uses one bag for every eight tomatoes. We have used cow manure from the farm which is also fine, but be prepared for weeds. Oh the weeds!! The packaged stuff saves you the heartache and extra work of weeding.
We haven't the meticulously measured and planned patch, nor the extravagant structure that Norm is growing his tomatoes in, but I'm confident the space we have will be will be suffice and with the soil preparation in full swing we are on the way.
We have also set up a few fruit fly traps to do the best we can to control those horrible little blighters. Ill have more on that though in a later post.
Here are some pics of Norms patch anyway to get you inspired in the garden.
A mighty structure as you can see.
Lots of height to cater for the tall Mortgage Lifters and good structure for the shade cloth and water drip lines.
The patch is built up to be able to enable better soil and drainage.
Along the outside border Norm has nailed on some mesh. The snails try to climb up the boards to get into the patch, but they get trapped by the mesh and can't work out how to climb over it. Brilliant!! You can also see where Norm has marked the lines where he will be planting his seedlings. Talk about meticulous.
Stakes and shade cloth all in preparation for helping and protecting the tomatoes.
They won't be able to play in there again soon.
Soil preparation summary.
1: Lime - Leave for a week.
2. Composted Cow Manure or equivalent - Leave for 1-2 weeks.
3. Set Fruit Fly Traps
4. Nurture and take care of your seedlings.
How has your tomato growing venture started this season?
Where are you at? What do you do?
Id love to read about all of your growing tips.
My next tomato update will be in a couple of weeks.
Thanks for visiting today.