Friday, March 18, 2011
Growing and Supporting Tomatoes
The picture above is a photo of my garden in 2009. These are our 'Portugal' tomatoes growing. That was a bumper year for tomatoes.
I inherited a pile of 6' metal fence posts that have been handy in the garden. I usually stretch wire between them on which to grow things, like tomatoes, cukes, peas.
This year I am considering another option. I also have some fencing that is really a large roll of reinforcing wire. I want to make a few of these for the tomatoes, one set for each of the tomato varieties that I want to plant this year:
The wire will be in two pieces, two "L"s, which I will remove from the post in the fall and store separately.
These are indeterminate tomatoes, meaning they grow continually larger until the frost takes them. Determinate tomatoes have a preprogrammed, default setting causing them to stop growing when they reach maturity which makes them better for short seasons. I grow these indeterminate ones anyway. I'm always pushing the growing season. These are HUGE plants and have to be controlled by pruning.
I prune most of the suckers off all summer and cut the tops off of my indeterminate tomato plants around mid August. They do keep trying to grow after the top has been cut off, putting out even more suckers and more tops. I just keep trimming it back, forcing it to put as much growth as possible into the tomatoes. This makes for very large tomatoes.
We still get green tomatoes at the end of the season. To help the plant ripen what is there, I cut the roots about halfway around the plant when it gets about two weeks before our first frost date. This does help, although we still get green tomatoes.
Some tomatoes will keep all winter in our cold cellar wrapped separately in newspaper. Each tomato individually wrapped and not touching others, set on wood to keep dry. Sometimes they will stay green enough and good until mid winter, when they can be taken out and put into the kitchen to finish ripening. Not all tomatoes will do this, but a few will. If you find a good keeper tomato, you can have garden tomatoes at Christmas!
I have some seeds I got in a trade for some good "keeper" tomatoes that I am going to plant this year on a trial basis.
Some green tomatoes are welcome! We like Fried Green Tomatoes!
I have considered growing them upside down from a hole in the bottom of a bucket, as well, but have just not bothered. I have a lot of space for a garden and I don't have a secure place to hang them. Acquiring the buckets would be no problem but I would have to build a strong system from which to hang them that will support their weight.
Do you have another tomato support system that works well for you?
The first pictured tomato support system came from: Wyogrow.com
Posted by Sheryl at Providence Acres at 3:38 AM