Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Progresss in My Garden

Despite a late start to planting in the new raised garden beds the plants are doing quite well. I've added more herbs as I find them focusing on getting the perennial and biennial herbs established. The weather has been quite wet and below average temperatures so both the mesclun mix and leaf lettuce is growing nicely. The ever bearing strawberries are growing well in their hanging basket however they have not produced any fruit. I will be planting them in one of the additional beds once built. The rhubarb is in the ground and off to a slow start but should do well. The beefsteak tomatoes are now almost to the top of the large, square cages. They have a good amount of blossoms but no fruit yet. The Lemon Boy tomato plant has a couple of fruit so they should be ready soon.

Sweet Million TomatoesSweet Million Tomatoes

The Sweet Millions are the first to have almost ripe fruit. I can hardly wait! Last year I grew Sweet Millions in large containers. One of the containers had accidentally not been emptied at the end of the season. I was surprised to see a few volunteer plants in the pot so I left them. They are still rather small so I plan to repot them into fresh soil then bring the plants indoors when frost threatens.

Tomatoes especially the cherry varieties grow nicely indoors with adequate lighting. The Sweet Millions are ideal for indoor growing indoors because the plants are a bit more compact. When grown in pots both indoor and outdoors you will need to use an organic fertilizer and Epsom salt (method here).

Upside Down Tomato PlanterUpside Down Tomato Planter

A few days ago on one of our road trips I found a Handy Trends® Tomato Planter™. I had heard about the technique of growing plants upside down and have seen several homemade methods of making an upside down planter using a 5 gal food grade plastic pail. Well, I just had to have one of these planters!

The planter cost me $14.99 purchased from Canadian Tire. I also picked up a 6 - pack of Sweet 100's to use for this experiment. The kit came with the planter, lid, foam disc and attached hanger. To plant, you have to push the tomato plug up through the bottom then turn upright and fill with potting soil and water well. Now this definitely is not as easy as it sounds! The opening on the bottom doesn't have a lot of give so my fingers were rather scratched up. The plug root ball was also broke up considerably. When inverted to fill with potting soil the planter is just more than a bit wiggly and filling will cause it to fall over if not supported. The filled planter is heavy so it does need a sturdy branch or well secured hook. A light weight metal hanger will not work for this planter as we quickly found out. The biggest problem though is the length the planter hangs down. You need it high enough that the tomato vine can grow without touching the ground yet low enough that you can water it.

Pictured is the planter in its temporary location. I need to find a more appropriate location for it. I will report back on this planter and how well the tomatoes grow. My first thoughts is this would be a great way to grow tomatoes indoors suspended from the ceiling as it eliminates the need for supporting the vines. It is still to early to tell whether I like growing this way or not. The Sweet 100's planted in the planter is so far growing nicely.

tomato suckerTomato Sucker

A tomato sucker is the small branch of the vine growing in the middle of two branches that form a "Y" as indicated by the red arrow. There are two schools of thought when it comes to dealing with suckers, then there is mine.

Some will leave the suckers on the vine which will result in a lot of tomatoes that are smaller in size. Others will remove the suckers which will result in fewer tomatoes that are larger in size. So who is right? My answer is it depends on the tomato variety, the gardener and what their goals are.

I remove suckers off of slicing tomato vines because this is where I want larger fruit. However, the suckers are not simply discarded. They are placed in a container of water to form roots then they are potted up for growing indoors. This is a great way to propagate tomatoes without collecting seeds! I don't remove suckers from cherry tomato varieties because they are great produces and you can never get enough of the fruit. I also don't remove the suckers from sauce tomatoes for the same reason. The exception is as the weather cools I will remove a few suckers from both the cherry and sauce tomato plants to root for indoor growing through the winter.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome

1 comment:

  1. Indoor growing tomatoes through the winter?!!! I take off my hat! Unfortunately, I don't have a space for doing that and I think I don't have enough patience for doing that, but I highly respect you for! I hope you'll post some pictures of those winter plants!


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