Monday, September 29, 2008

Moving Tomato Plants

Today was sort out day here and the last 150 tomato plants came out of the hothouse and are hardening off. The lot that were on the path hardening off have now relocated to the back of the house and the new lot have taken their spot under the shade cloth. One thing that did come out of the plant relocation today was that when I was putting the plants in the trays, the Brandywine Pink had a ring-in, a regular leaf plant, so it looks like I'll grow it out just to see if it is a pink, or something else.

I'm now down to one cold frame which holds the Goji Berry seedlings and a few smaller chili plants, while the hothouse now contains only the plants I have potted up to grow in either the garden or pots in the hothouse itself.

I've booked a stall at the local Market for Sunday and hopefully a huge quantity of the tomato plants will get sold off, well that's the plan but there are other plant stalls booked, so not sure what type of plants they'll sell but a bit of competition is good fun.

It's a good opportunity for anyone to buy "different" varieties even just to save seeds as a lot of the ones I have came from USA and with the new Quarantine Laws, no more tomato seed can be imported into Australia by the small grower.

Food for thought.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Goji Update

The Goji Berries have started to get new growth and the earlier sowing has now got leaves hanging out over the tops of the 2" tubes. They seemed to enjoy their drink of Seasol last week and are looking good.

Here's a couple of the bigger ones.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Like Chalk and Cheese

"Like Chalk and Cheese"

These tomato plants carry the same name tag on their pots and they may look like similar to the untrained eye, but these tomatoes are all quite different even though they're from the same seed packet. Last year these became the focal point of what seemed to be a 'mutant' line of fruit coming from these mysterious Cuor di Bue tomato seeds with so much variation in the fruit.

But to the trained eye three different types will come from these plants, with unbelievable variation in their fruiting, like -
  • A red heart tomato as big as a tennis ball, heavily ribbed.
  • A small red heart almost a miniature Cuor di Bue
  • A burgundy egg shaped tomato with some striping more noticeable while in the unripe lead up to changing colour, looking more Green Zebra like than anything colour wise before the change.

This year, mainly due to the oddity factor of last season, I'm growing 4 plants from the original seed packet in an effort to see what I get this time. It's amazing that variations show up at an early stage in their foliage in either colour or leaf shape.

Interesting times ahead - I certainly hope so.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tomato Day

It seemed to end up being a busy afternoon as I decided it was time to harden off the bigger of the tomato plants and had to try and sort them into trays of the same types. I've still got a lot that are just too small to go out yet and they'll spend a few more weeks in the warmth of the hothouse and cold frame.
It's surprising to see how much the plants I've potted up into 140mm pots have grown in the last week, some almost look as if they'd be quite at home in the garden, but I won't be rushing it this year. When I get enough room in the hothouse, I'll remove the racking down one side and pot up into 30cm pots the likes of Little Heart and Lime Green Salad which I'll be growing some of each in the hothouse.
This afternoon all seedlings, inside and out of the hothouse received a drink of Seasol as a tonic just to help them cope on the 'outside'.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

In the hothouse

I decided to pot up all the tomatoes I plan on growing in the garden this year into 140mm pots, to enable me to hold off from planting at my usual time if the need arose, so yesterday and today I did some and they look quite good although I'm only about 2/3rds of the way done at this stage.
Amongst the multitude of plants I found that I had four compact seedlings of Polar Star sitting at the front of a tray in the hothouse, so these got potted up, then when I checked my database I was supposed to have seven plants and when located the other three they turned out to be different for some reason. Mix ups with tomato seed is always on the cards, just look at the Cuor di Bue that turned out throwing 'mutant' strains of fruit in both shape and colour, hence where the little heart tomato origins are. I've decided to keep the four 'compact' plants and get rid of the other three as I don't want years of stress growing them out.
The Cuor di Bue mentioned above threw fruit with unusual shape, ribs & colour last year so I'm growing four plants this year to see what turns up. I have also got three plants of the tomato 'Little Heart' to grow on and see if there's any improvement in shape as they had superb flavour, so fingers crossed I get good results again.
I have the majority of the plants for the bigger tomatoes almost up to a size where they can come out and be hardened off.
With the other items I'm growing, the cucumbers have not grown as planned and the Goji's are starting to hit their straps with lots of new growth and may get sold off at Christmas if they get some size to them.

Here's my grow list for this season, with some multiples-

Black Cherry
Black Russian
Casey's Stripey
Cherokee Purple
Country Orange
Cuor di Bue
Greek Witness
Grosse Lisse
Grub's Mystery Green
Lime Green Salad
Little Heart
Micro Tom
Monomakh's Hat
Papa Misco
Polar Star
Prairie Fire
Rainy's Maltese
Red Cloud
Red Robin
Tiny Tim
Window Box Roma

Monday, September 15, 2008

Just Like Winter

It was like a wintery blast that roared through our area today with gale force winds and rain, all this while I have 100+ tomato plants under the shade cloth of the fernery which I'm attempting to harden off for a few days. Although out of the wind, these plants are feeling the difference from being all warm and snug in the hothouse, but they'll pull through O.K. and will rest in the sunshine when it next appears.

These plants are the smaller/ornamental types including the likes of Siberian, Window Box Roma, Tiny Tim, Red Robin and the worlds smallest tomato plant Micro Tom. In the following weeks, the bigger varieties will make their appearance in the fernery for the crucial hardening off period of three to five days. Once they get through this period they should be tough enough to survive in the garden without too much attention.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Goji Day

I could call today Goji Berry Day, as I seem to have accumulated a lot of them here it would seem, although it certainly didn't look like there were anywhere that many growing in the seedling tray when I first looked. I rounded off the total number of tubes done to 200 and every one of them still looks like it's healthy and standing erect, so we'll see how they go.

Here they are, minus a few still in the hothouse:-

Friday, September 12, 2008

Another Day

Warm, sunny and windy, not the sort of day to be moving tomato plants around the yard but these jobs have to be done when the plants reach an ultimate height so they harden off and sit in the sun for the last week prior to sale. Varieties like Siletz, Siberian, Sprite, Praire Fire and Window Box Roma were the first to be left out in the shade along with more Chillies, Zucchini's and Cucumbers. The interior of the hothouse is now devoid of the numerous pots of seedlings taking up the walkway between the growing stands. By the end of September all the seedlings will be out ready to either plant here in the garden or to sell on, both will be a good feeling.
This year we will be growing extra tomato plants so seed collection can occur with these smaller hard to get varieties, as importing from USA will no longer be allowed and seed will become harder to get for these varieties.

We will attempt to grow our Zucchini's and our Lebanese Cucumber plants from indivdual 58 litre tubs, while the Sikkim Cucumber finds a spot amongst the Natives in the back yard.

Here are some 'Black Jack' Zucchini plants which we're growing again this year.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Making Some Room

With the different plant types being grown here this year, I'll have to start thinking of moving some around, hardening off others because I'm rapidly running out of space. In the coming days I'll start and harden off some of the smaller tomato types in order to claim the room in the cold frame for others taking up aisle space in the hothouse. These smaller tomatoes can harden off under shade cloth for a few days then they'll be put out to soak up the sun and hopefully put on more size. I have placed an Ice cream stick in a lot of the seedlings pots for the ones I want to keep for my own garden, so this will help locating them when the time comes.

Today the Marketmore Cucumbers went out with some Corno di Toro sweet peppers and will be the first to start the hardening off process.

Here's the Marketmore Cucumbers.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Finally done.

Well, after 6 long weeks I've finally manged to pot up the last tomato seedlings today after losing a lot with the cold August we encountered this year. Along with the tomatoes, I have potted up 48 Goji Berry seedlings into 2" tubes, they were growing in the seed trays with the tomatoes and as the tomatoes have finished, the Goji's had to find a new home.
I've now managed to get suitable tomato plant numbers again for my sales and it will be interesting to see if I can get rid of them quickly, as I don't want them here for any longer than needed.

Here's a tray of seedling Goji's.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Look At What's Growing.

The tomato seedlings I have growing at present are starting to get some size now after sitting through a cold gloomy August, which did them no favours with very little growth noted. I've resown quite a few tomato seedlings to make up for some of the 100+ I'd lost in the cold, these are doing fine now and will be potted up next week.

In Cold frame#1 I have the small varieties of tomato seedlings which are now mostly ready to be sold on, remembering that these are only small growing plants, when fully grown. It's interesting to note that some of these smaller plants are actually starting to flower now and could have fruit showing when they leave here.

While in Cold frame#2 the Chillies and Peppers are doing well. Here are some of the Corno di Toro also ready to be sold, but will have to wait a few more weeks yet.

In the hothouse the Cucumber & Zucchini seeds have germinated and will be put out in the colder air soon to slow their growth so they'll be at a good size at the end of the third week in September when they'll be collected by those growing them.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Waking Up Old Tomato Seeds #2

Yesterday I removed the tomato seeds from the tomato pulp/juice after leaving it soak for 49 hours, then rinsed and sowed them. I also mixed a bleach solution containing 27.5% of household bleach in water and soaked the remaining seeds for 30 minutes, rinsed and sowed them alongside the others. I'd expect that if any germination will occur, it should happen within the next 4-5 day period. I will however leave them until the last seedlings are taken from the heat pad in about a fortnight.

As I've said ..... Nothing ventured, nothing gained.