Monday, May 9, 2016

You say tomato..I say indeterminate

Lets talk tomato....a subject I do not know a lot about, I am a novice but here is what I have learned:


This is not a great photo but one that displays that Lowe's has nothing in the lawn and garden department that will stake or support half the tomatoes they sell.  

The tall tomato on the right in the photo is called a Pear tomato and it is only half  gown and over 4 feet tall.  And this is why it is different then the Romas beside it :


Notice the Word: Determinate...this translate into ; this tomato plant will only get so tall and frankly these were almost 5 feet and out of the tomato cages around them.  

The pear tomatoes are:

Indeterminate ...this means as long as it is growing season they will GROW and produce prolifically !  And this plant did, I ended up putting these guys in the freezer we could not eat them fast enough.
This plant was over 6 foot tall and we finally put a Shepard's hook flower pole in the cage to support it. And it fell over the top some of the branches broke and it was a mess to keep up with.  
If you like the Cherokee Purple you will have the same issue because it is also:.....
INDETERMINATE !

It does not take a genius to figure out that to stress a plant is the best way to hinder your fruit production..so this year we addressed the issue of how to stake a indeterminate tomato vine for longevity.  

First do not think that you will walk into your hardware store and find a cage that will work, there is not one large enough or heavy duty enough.  Most of the cages and staking material found in your run  of the mill hardware store are for patio plants. Our Solution:
Tractor supply or any farm supply store....

  
We purchased for $6.49 each 8 7 foot barbwire Fence poles.  These are metal and coated and made to last in the weather.  They will last you a life time.   I had a roll of electric fence wire to use to "string" between them to support the tomatoes....The other up side, they are safe from the Labrador retriever. 





You can use string , shreds of fabric or wire to support your tomatoes . The trick is to remove the suckers and to keep with the growing season especially when the weather heats up!  Another tip...cut your bottom leaves off!  You do not want any leaf touching the ground on your tomato.  This will eliminate the chance for fungal out break.  Also water consistently..if you get a few days of rain take off any tomato that has started to turn.  It will continue to ripen and by removing it from the vine you can prevent it from busting.  These will be mulched with commercial compost that has been treated to prevent sharing fungus. I hope that you are ready to to enjoy Fresh BLTs it is not too late to plant in this area....
Happy Green Thumb to ya!!
Sheryl


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