When I wrote to the NZ Gardener recently to make them aware of my bumper crop of tomatoes I certainly didn’t expect my letter to be made into a full page feature. You could say I almost “fell off my ladder” when the neighbour dropped by to show me their copy (details are on pages 8 and 77).
Since planting my main crop on the 5th of October I’ve spend many hours diligently tending the tomatoes so this article in the “2009 magazine of the year” certainly ended my tomato growing season on a high, excuse the pun.
As the above photo has been reduced from A4 the text is rather difficult to read so I’ve reproduced my unabridged version below.
- I first started growing tomatoes about 30 years ago and along with pumpkins they normally dominant my garden. Not only do I enjoy growing them I also love to eat them. This season I decided to be a bit more adventurous and try some vegetables that I’d never grown before. Normally it’s just Beefsteaks and Money Makers but this year I purchased some heirloom seeds from Kings Seeds. Currently I have about 40 plants including Black Krim, Brandywine, Tommy Toe, Beefsteak and Money Maker. Once the seedlings are planted out I apply worm juice to the root zone every fortnight. I have three bath tub worm farms which produce about 9 litres each week. Worm juice is great as it’s totally organic, environmentally friendly and simple to apply.
- Tomatoes are very easy to grow but to have a good crop you should continually remove the laterals as well as any surplus or diseased foliage. Doing this on a regular basis ensures water and nutrients are directed to the fruit. I use waratah standards for stakes as it easy to attach wooden extensions to them as the tomatoes grow. I drive these well into the ground with a sledge hammer.
- Many of my tomatoes are more that 2.5 meters tall which makes life interesting. Every few days I spend time tying them up with strips cut from truck tyre inner tubes to ensure they don’t fall foul of the wind. Lastly I’m very careful not to overlook the important aspect of watering. Using a soaker hose directs the water only to the roots plus it saves time and water.
The March edition of NZ Gardener magazine hit the stores on Monday so that afternoon I visited our local garden centre to purchase a couple of copies. Whilst doing so I mentioned to several of the assistants that my tomatoes were featured. I think they were impressed until I told them that I had bought the seeds from another supplier.
Looking back I don’t know why I did that?
Perhaps all this celebrity status is affecting my thinking.
Yes that’s the same tomato plant. Amazing what time, a little love and some worm juice can produce.