I know, it sounds really silly but it seems like it might actually work. I've been browsing You Tube articles on growing tomatoes in readiness for the coming season and came across this character called Reaganite71.
Click here for link.
He rambles on a bit at the beginning so jump in at 2.26 min. Once he gets going he's full of helpful tips and i warmed to him so much i subscribed.
Spanking (or a gentle tapping) is done with a small roll of paper, to gently help the process of pollination. With the shortage of bees globally this maybe a skill we gardeners all have to learn. It should be done early morning. Pollination occurs wholly within the flower of the tomato. The pollen from the anther in the stamen (male) is transferred to the stigma inside the pistil (female) and thus pollination occurs.
For more sex talk refer here. Did you know that each grain of pollen has two sperm cells that travel down the tube into the embryo sac inside the ovule of the ovaries. This fertilised ovule will become the seed of the tomato. Is this all sounding familiar?
Other Helpful Tips from Reaganite71
deter birds. They go for the red coloured balls (thinking they have aced the largest best tomatoes ever) and when there is nothing to gain they move on leaving your actual tomatoes alone. Can you imagine how this would look. Too cool - more garden art for not much expense. I'm sure i have old ones stashed away somewhere.
Another trick he uses is to remove all the stems up to the first blossom thus concentrating all the plants energies to this point and upwards. He then removes all the suckers all the way up to just under the canopy.
Once again this is to move the energy on up and to drive it to the fruit bearing stems. This also help keep diseased leaves away from the dirt so disease cannot be splashed up onto the plant.
|Pruned Bush with Lots of Fruit|
|In the same bed, unpruned plants with no fruit|
Question to the blogosphere - does the apple juice have to be organic, or freshly squeezed? Does commercial apple juice produce methane?
Excess leaves and falling blossoms may be too much nitrogen in the soil and not enough phosphorous and potassium. Rather than using fertilisers, use compost and compost tea to balance this out. I had a friend last year who had 6 foot giant plants that looked amazing but only one or two fruit on each plant.
Here's one I've never heard, smokers need to ensure that they wash their hands and the tools they have been touching prior to touching plants, especially tomatoes. Burnt smoke or nicotine on fingers can cause Tobacco Mosaic Virus disease on tomatoes. Read about it here.
Blossom Rot due to calcium deficiency in the soil can be easily fixed with milk/water wash sprayed on the root zones. I had this my first season and I didn't have a clue what id done wrong. I added a light sprinkle of calcium powder (as advised) to the soil fairly early in the season and it fixed the problem and the plants continued to crop (after i had removed all the spoiled fruit). Sometimes they don't and you are better off removing the plant.
OK, this is a biggie for beginners - WHEN DO I PLANT TOMATOES!!!!
It really does depend on your climate. I live in a temperate climate in Southern Victoria. Its pretty traditional down here to transplant established tomato seedlings on Melbourne Cup Day weekend. That makes it first weekend in November. However, if you have a protected spot that get warm sun, maybe against a wall, then you can put them in as early as September and get that first early crop in December. I did this last year with cherry tomatoes and i had my first crop quite early. The North sun points directly onto the back wall of our house and so the bricks hold heat for them. Later in mid summer this becomes a problem and i have to shade the beds.
|First week of December 2013|
Gardenate - I use this iPhone App to tell me when to plant most things. It tells me when to plant seeds and when to plant seedlings. It also gives you masses of information of how too, companion planting and even cooking suggestions. Go get it - you wont regret it. Link here
Gardenate tells me that in August and September i should be planting seeds in trays undercover. Transplanting seedlings should start in October. Note, this is for my climate but you can change the settings to your own. You can also record on this App what and when you have planted under My Garden. This is a great reference tool.
What i can tell you is that i was at the garden centre the other day and people were buying up big all the tomato plants that were ready for transplanting now. Unless they are going into a hot housed (i doubt it) they wont do much. There was ice on my car this week!!
I hope I've been able to give some general advice for beginners starting out growing tomatoes. The tomato season is an exciting one (I don't get out much) and I'm looking forward to my third season.
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