Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Making Tomato Babies and Getting Them to Grow

Most of my tomatoes have taken off. The one exception is Persimmon, aka prima donna. I last blogged about this plant in April. It has seen about one inch of growth since then.
Today I decided that I would give it one more chance, some hard core babying to see if I could get it to, er grow! I started by constructing another self-watering container. I have the construction of this container down to 35 minutes now! Learning how to work the new drill makes a big difference!
I'm hoping that the additional warmth the persimmons get in this container will help them catch up to the other tomatoes that were planted at the same time. Today, I helped them further by giving them a dose of worm tea, and some Neptune's fish and seaweed fertilizer.

The small plant in the rear container was started several weeks after the two big guys planted at the sime time as persimmon. It's growing, the three persimmons in the new front container are not. To help them further, and since the weather has cooled, I put a jug of warm water in with them tonight and covered them up. Heat will be the name of the game for awhile.
On the left of this container I crammed three red belgium pepper plants that got stunted during a cold spell weeks ago. I'm hoping the container perks them up too!
Also on the agenda tonight was making babies, tomato babies that is. Sixty degrees and dry is perfect weather for tomato pollination. Since our bees remain few and far between, I spent some time in the garden today helping with pollination.
For tomatoes, this is done, in this by giving plants with blooms a few good shakes. This is fun to do to tunes, just make sure no one is watching or ack, taping!
Kids can be enlisted to help with this task if you have a lot of plants, or they are making you nuts asking what is for dinner. For kids it's better to give them something soft, like a fly swatter and tell them to wiggle the blossoms a bit. If you tell them to shake the plant, you risk broken plant! The tempation to out shake each other is just too much. It's also prudent to threaten your hockey loving son a bit that before you give him the swatter. Lest he be inspired to practice slap shots.
Check out this picture. I'm in zone 5 and I have baby tomatoes on June 3! I'm pretty good at making the tomato babies if I do say so myself. ;)
Last item on the agenda tonight was trying to further secure the balcony tomatoes. The handles that are currently holding them up are ripping.
I secured two of them with chains and heavy gauge electrical wire. This was not easy. The options were doing it from below while standing on a tippy lawn chair or doing it from above hanging over the balcony. It took me an hour to finally get it right!
The bag on the right hasn't started tearing yet, but I need to get to it soon. These plants are growing fast! Pretty soon I need to figure out how I will support the plants once they start stretching above the balcony rail. I have no idea how I'm going to do that.
Also of note, the sweet pea's that were supposed to grow down and help cover these containers? They like to grow up just as much as the tomatoes. I'm close to giving up with trying to disguise the ugly that is these containers. I guess if they eventually allow me to roll out of bed, step out on the balcony and grab a tomato, I can deal with a bit of green plastic for a season.


Sande said...

Here in southern Michigan we seem really sparse on honey bees too. I've been watching and see very few - even in the fields of clover. Your SWC's look really nice.

sarada said...

Wonderful Tomato plants! They look awesome. This is my second year gardening and starting plants from seed, but not with much success. May be next year I should take some tips from your blog.

Ellie Mae's Cottage said...

I love all the interesting places you tuck away the tomato plants. Great ideas! And, baby tomatoes already in zone 5 - how awesome! -Jackie

Beegirl said...

Interested to see how those balcony tomatoes do! I am thinking about getting a little patio tomato for the deck off of the kitchen.

Matron said...

I have the same problem with tomato plants, I just can't say no! So many left over I just cannot bear to let them get pot bound so I shove them into any weedy patch I can!

Stacy said...

Thanks Sande and Jackie!

Beegirl so far, the balcony is a hot spot and the tomatoes are loving it. The danger is of course the wind. We get a lot of it, and already the middle plant is starting to come over the top of the balcony. I either have to lower the container which at this point will be a huge pain or figure out some way to stake it, which will be a slightly smaller pain.

Matron, I think giving them a shot is better than tossing them in a heap. If it gets us a tomato or two more, it's worth the effort!