Growing tomatoes in GreenSmart Pots

 Growing tomatoes

Summer time!

Growing tomatoes is easy in GreenSmart self watering pots.

When I think about growing tomatoes I think about travelling in sunny Mexico and the sun worshippers of the ancient civilisations of Mexico. The Spanish Conquistadors returned from the ‘New World” with tomatoes and then spread them around the world. Tomatoes love plenty of sun and good air circulation. There are five main groups to choose from: Bush or Dwarf types (eg Scoresby dwarf), tall types requiring staking (eg Russian Red, Money Maker, Beefsteak, Grosse Lisse), yellow tomatoes (low acid), cherry tomatoes and grafted tomatoes (so called because a well known heavy fruiting variety is grafted onto the roots of a variety that has good disease resistance). Grafted tomatoes are more expensive but well worthwhile if you are only able to grow a couple of plants.

Growing Conditions

Labour Weekend is the traditional time to begin planting out tomatoes but I find that it is worth starting growing tomatoes anytime between early October and late January. In cooler areas there is nothing to be gained by starting too early. They grow best when average temperatures are above 15 degrees C and have at least six hours of sunshine per day. I hollow out a 3-4 cm deep trough in the potting mix, lay the plants flat.ie parallel to the surface to encourage more root development. The stems soon straighten to the vertical.

GreenSmart TM Pots are ideal for growing tomatoes as you can fit 2-3 plants in one of the large pots with a 40 litre bag of potting mix. Wet leaves result in fungal growth. I find that even when the tomato plants are rapidly growing and fruiting, the GreenSmart pot water reservoir only needs refilling about every three days.

Staking

It is best to stake tomatoes at planting time. Here are four ways to do it:

Drive stakes into the ground on the outside of the pot adjacent to the plant or you can position two metre

long stakes at a slight angle into the ground around the GreenSmart pot to create a wigwam above the tomatoes.

Another method is to loop a four metre length of twine under the pot and attach it well above  the pot onto a wall or frame.

How can a GreenSmart pot help you grow better tomatoes?

Tomatoes will grow faster because they have access to water all the time. You will get more warmth into the plant roots so plants grow faster. You won’t need to be an expert gardener to grow great tomatoes and it’s easy to be an organic gardener. In addition, there is no wastage of water or fertiliser.

Pruning Tomatoes

It is best to grow a single stem, pinching out the lateral branches which will grow between the main stem and the side branches. If you are new to growing tomatoes, then this you tube video is helpful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DtKDWAFQfg

Fertilisers

Remember that tomato plants are gross feeders so they need soil rich in humus or well rotted animal manure. Last year I had good results from adding a table spoon of Epsom Salts and another of milk powder into the soil. This provides additional magnesium and calcium. Add liquid manures (eg animal manure or comfrey tea or seaweed) into the sight glass as the plants begin to fruit. I use this seweed booster every couple of weeks after the tomatoes start flowering.   https://growgoodnz.co.nz/products/liquid-seaweed-fertiliser/

Too much nitrogenous animal manure will result in lots of lush growth but less tomatoes.

Pests and Diseases

Remove blighted or wilted leaves immediately. Blossom end rot on the fruit is a sign of uneven watering or calcium deficiency.Apparently a spoonful of milk powder is a good way to add extra calcium. By doing all of the watering through the water sight glass you will avoid splashing water onto the plants which spreads fungal spores. Wet leaves result in fungal growth.

Companions – Under plant the tomatoes with basil and marigold to repel aphids and whitefly

Harvesting – One of the greatest pleasures when growing tomatoes is to eat them on a sunny afternoon right from the vine. Don’t wait until the tomatoes are in the kitchen! Snack on a sun warmed tomato while you are still in the garden.

ripening tomatoes in GreenSmart Pots

In the Kitchen

One of my favourite ways to eat tomatoes is with olive oil and basil. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/10-minute-tomato-basil-salad/

Vegetable or fruit? When we lived in Shanghai I noticed that in summer time many restaurant meals would include a bowl of raw tomatoes at the conclusion of the meal. I had two colleagues (one Australian and one Chinese) who after every meal would bicker about tomatoes being vegetable or fruit. They failed to convince each other about sweet/savoury tastes and seeds on the inside. Here’s the answer to the question….

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/is-a-tomato-a-fruit-or-a-vegetable

happy gardening,

Bill

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