Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Stake It or Cage It? The Lingering Tomato Question...

I absolutely love tomatoes but I greatly dislike a tomato from the grocery store.  Those plastic tasting little bits of overpriced garbage rarely end up in our house.  My dad called them hot house tomatoes because the majority of them are grown in greenhouses.  He didn't like them either.

Honestly, I can darn near grantee you that once you sink your teeth into a homegrown, heirloom tomato you will kick yourself anytime you have to purchase a hot house tomato again.

I wrote an article on growing and storing tomatoes not too long ago.  "A Guide on How to Store and Grow Organic Tomatoes in Your Home Garden"  I'm also expecting John to chime in with something for you on the tomato soon.  His tomato plants are amazing and his methods of growing them produces an unbelievable tomato crop that doesn't even come close to mine!

My garden this year has 7 different types of tomatoes growing in it.  That's right, I said 7.  My largest plant at the moment is this beautiful cherry tomato that is in the middle of the herb garden.  As you can see, it is getting quite large and now, is laying over WAY too much and so now it's decision time.  Stake it or cage it?  For the cherry tomato plant, I'm thinking stake it.

Let me tell you why:

Cherry tomatoes are quite small which means they don't weigh much.  The plant is in a bit of a confined area because stupid me planted it a bit too close for comfort to two of my pepper plants.  (That's what happens when you plant in the twilight of sundown!)  Staking the plant will give me more control of the growth and where it goes.  So for my cherry tomato plants, I stake.

I am also growing an interesting heirloom collection.
  • A Charlie Chaplin
  • An Abe Lincoln
  • 2 Italian Red
  • Lemon Boy
  • 2 Beefsteak Red
  • A Mister Stripey
These will all be caged instead of staked as soon as I make the cages (3 down, 5 to go!) because they are in a more open area.  The Beefsteak Red tomato plants are also in the herb garden but they have more room because I planted them when the sun was actually up and I could really see spacing.  The others are planted along the bed with the acorn squash and black oil sunflowers.  The sunflowers will help to provide some shade to the squash and the tomato plants and keep them from being burnt up this summer.

I can't wait to show you pictures of this interesting tomato collection once the fruits have ripened and it's picking time.  I imagine that there will be a nice tomato ketchup made in my house this summer along with salsa, tomato sauces and relishes.  While most people are dreaming about their next vacation, I'm dreaming about things to do with tomatoes and tomato cages.

There aren't many material things in life that I want, but I do want a greenhouse in my back yard.  And more mulch.  And dirt for the boxes that will become my cold frames for fall and winter growing this year.

Yesterday's garden list was weeding the acorn squash/tomato/black oil sunflower patch after I mowed the front yard and cleaned out the meatie pen.  I'm also made a lovely chicken stock to put up for the gallons of chicken & dumplings and chicken soups that will be created over the next few months.  Even though the herbs are still a bit small in the garden, I invaded them for the stock.  They'll be ok.

So far the garden is looking good.  The corn is about 6" tall, there are quite a few mammoth sunflowers poking up through the soil and the beans are taking off nicely.  The only disappointment at this point is the okra.  It just doesn't seem to want to grow.  I imagine I'll walk out to check it one afternoon and it will have taken over the row with the cucumbers.  At least that's what I'm hoping for.  Everyone can have a dream, right?

Oh, and I thought I'd show you this...

Those are "pumpkin in a pumpkin" plants.  It's what I do with old Halloween plastic pumpkin treat buckets.  They became planters for a couple of sugar pumpkin plants.

Happy Tuesday!

I hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend...



1 comment:

Say want you want but be nice or be gone. :)