Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Art in a Tomato

 This is from last year but I am hoping that this year will be better!
As many of you know my first love is my garden.  I have a million flowers in my garden but what I am really after is "the perfect tomato"!  There is nothing better than a home grown, sun rippened tomato, just picked off the vine.
   I grow mostly heirloom varieties and start them all from seed.  It never fails to amaze me that from one tiny seed, well nourished and taken care of, so many tomatoes can be picked!
 Be nice and talk to them!
   There are tricks to getting that perfect tomato.  They love to be transplanted and while still young I will do this several times, always into bigger pots and each time deeper and deeper.  All the little hairs along the stems will become roots and that is a key to growing great tomatoes.  The final planting into the garden I will bury half the plant into the ground.  The deeper the better.
   Tomatoes will develop a lot of side shoots, little suckers than need to be clipped off giving more strength to the main vine.  Heirlooms will get tall, over seven feet tall if they are supported and I have ornamental iron all over my garden, very strong supports indeed!
    My garden is organic, pesticide and herbacide free and I don't use chemical fertilizers which is sort of like meth for plants.  I add lime every year to get a proper balance in the ph of the soil.  Organic soils are almost always a little on the acid side.  I also add bone meal, blood meal (tomatoes are carnivors!), kelp meal, coffee grounds and egg shells and most anything else I can find at a reasonable price.  Forty years in the same place creates wonderful soil.
 About to go into the dryer!
   Don't let the soil dry out.  Only two things will cause a tomato to split, not enough calcium in the soil and allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.  That is confusing to the plant.  Without water the tomato thinks the season is over and it will stop its effort at growing and turn to rippening instead.  Then, if you add water, it will begin to grow again and that will cause the splitting.  I keep the soil evenly damp until towards th end of the season when I stop watering altogether.

Two years ago it was the perfect season!  I dry more tomatoes than I preserve in jars and I sent them as gifts all over the world.
Keep your fingers crossed, maybe this year you will get some!
More of my garden is HERE


Barbra Joan said...

Jerry, you have this down to a science I already knew that, and that your after that 'perfect tomato'
I think your well on your way.. Let's hope so .. and we want pictures..
I have never grown veggies myself (you know I'm a flower woman myself ) !! good luck with the 'maters' as my girlfriend calls them..

Clipped Wings said...

All I can say is WOW, you are a tomato connoisseur to the max. A lot of varieties there that you are drying. Looks yummy. I love the earth friendly way you garden.

rama said...

I have my fingers crossed and I am waiting for your tomatoes to come my way all the way to India.
Happy 4th of July to you and all Americans!

stonepost said...

Me too, Rama! all the way to India
that would be such fun!