Every year about this time people ask these questions of me, “Rodney why do you grow so many tomatoes and how do you achieve such great results … what are you going to do with them all ?”
I must admit that sometimes I ask myself the same questions especially when its time to stake, apply ties, remove laterals, water, feed and of course finally harvest. Tomatoes are relatively easy to grow however when you have in excess of 40 vines it becomes a size-able task.
When asked my reply is always the same, “I just love growing them”.
Doing a little often plus plenty of sunshine, water and a fortnightly helping of worm juice are just some of the ingredients needed for great results.
To the second question … eat as many as we can and then give the rest to neighbours family and friends. Sharing them is the other enjoyable aspect of growing tomatoes.
I’m not on my own in this respect as tomatoes are the most popular fruit /vegetable in New Zealand. Like last year I’ve grown a number of different varieties as I enjoy observing each type take on their own shapes, colours and flavours.
I’m not suggesting that everyone should grow as many tomatoes as I do however you can get a good crop from just a few vines if you follow some simple rules.
The images below showcase my tomatoes from the time of planting back in late October until now.
Above … prepare the soil well and dig in plenty of compost and aged animal manures. Ask about … you can usually get this for nothing. Trademe is a good place to start or talk to your horsey or farmer friends. Use labels and good strong stakes.
Plant seedling deep and right up to the upper leaves which encourages vigorous root growth. A more extensive root system simply means more tomatoes.
Tie up and remove laterals on a weekly basis. Growing prize winning tomatoes is all about fruit growth not foliage growth.
When the tomatoes begin to to ripen cover them with netting or similar to deter the birds. The main culprits in my patch are blackbirds and thrushes. I still lose a few as shown in the photo on bottom left.
Finally it’s harvest time and a chance to show off a little and enjoy the fruits of your labours.
The secret to growing a bumper tomato crop is a little time often spent attending to those all important tasks such as watering, feeding and removing laterals and excess foliage.
A fortnightly helping of our “Worm Juice Plant Booster” also works wonders.
If you’re tired of just an “average” tomato crop perhaps it’s time your tried our magical ”tomato tonic”. Click on the link above or visit our garden shop.