Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mostly about tomatoes...

HAD I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my tomatoes;
I have spread my tomatoes under your feet,
Tread softly because you tread on my tomatoes.
W.B. Yeats (& me)

that's about how I feel about them... Every year, I wait and watch, looking for the first ripe tomato. I also search and search for better ways to get them earlier and more tasty. Last year was mostly a bust. I sat like Mariana of the moated grange saying, "He cometh not, it looks more like it might die."
To keep this from happening, I am going overboard this year. We will probably be swamped with tomatoes, but I am on a quest for the best. Talking to the experts; WSU master gardeners, my mom (Minnesota Master Gardener) and reading different articles, I have come up with three different test cases and will see which do the best... or if it even matters. My next door neighbor said, "Aren't tomatoes the ones you just put in the ground and they grow?" 

So, the first test group, we'll call it blue team or team alpha, which ever you prefer. These are planted by roses, which is a good companion. Also they are next to the house. This provides warmth on the colder nights, shelter from winds, and keeps most rain from falling on the leaves and buds. 

Here is test group B (red team or team bravo). These handy dandy little green houses that are actually red (slightly oximoronic like White Burgundy) will keep them warmer, no direct rain, etc. but no companions.

Here is test group C (green team or team charlie). These are going on the basis that tomatoes love support. the closer one I will keep tying strings to the branches as it grows up. I will also prune any superfluous branches so that more nutrients go to less fruit. (Better tomatoes) The second bush is a cherry tomato, so it will just get lots of string and the branches can feel very supported. These will get all of the elements, and no extra warmth.

I have spoken to all the plants and told them the rules and given them their pep-talks, now we'll just wait for the results. I will water and fertilize them all the same. (Earth Elements every 6 weeks which is a granular slow release organic fertilizer, miracle gro for veggies every Sunday, and regular watering)

1 comment:

  1. I hope they all win, because I am a grandma. And also, because I'm hoping that there will be so many tomatoes--way more than you could possibly use--so you will give us lots of them. No, really, I'm rooting for the companions of the roses, because that sounds so neighborly.