Sunday, 25 May 2008


Thanks for all your comments about the tomatoes! They were sown mid-March in brand new shop-bought multi-purpose compost, kept indoors on a sunny windowsill until daytime temperatures were decent, then put in the plastic greenhouse (open during the day) and brought in at night for a while, and then kept in the greenhouse permanently for the last month or so.
I have discarded the worst of the plants (I started far too many anyway!), pinched the spotted leaves off the rest, and planted them out (gulp). Some of them look perfectly healthy still, the others just had one or two spots. Hopefully the improved growing conditions wil sort them out. I'm going to try a homemade bicarbonate-of-soda-fungicide when I have time, too, and keep a close eye on them. And I've started a few more seeds in the garden, just in case!

I've planted them in three rows of six, with a row of garlic and a row of basil and parsley each side. And I've sunk a plastic bottle into the soil between each pair of plants for deep watering when they get bigger. I wasn't really sure what to do about support, but the 'Florida Weave' method sounds sensible so I've put up a cane either side of each pair to facilitate this. I put some canes at the top to stabilise things, both along and across the rows, and now the whole thing feels like a big cage! I realise I should probably be using something a bit sturdier than canes but for now it's all I've got, so I'll have to keep an eye on things and maybe bring some guy-ropes into play at a later stage...

Assuming the plants actually grow that is!

Yesterday I made a start on some 'comfrey tea' as well, which will be great for feeding the tomatoes in a few weeks. The comfrey plants are next to our bench, and so big right now they were starting to encroach on our sitting-space, so after cutting the plants down (not completely - the flowers are so pretty!) I had a big pile for the compost heap too!

For those that don't know, comfrey leaves are incredibly rich in nutrients because the roots go so deep and draw up nutrients deep in the soil that few other plants can reach (nettles are similar in this way, and make great fertiliser too). They're great for the compost heap, or can be made into a high-potash liquid feed, or 'comfrey tea', by soaking the leaves in a bucket of water for a few weeks. (Beware though; I'm told it stinks to high heaven...) I actually bought my plants for this purpose a year ago when I first got my plot, only to find out later there's a whole plot at the far end of my allotment site given over to the stuff !

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, growing tomatoes in Colorado, USA zone 4-5 can be kind of dicey so I know how you feel. This year the tomatoes I started in my chilly house under grow lights were 1/4th the size of those I started in a large greenhouse on heat mats. Mine are starting to look better now that they're outside. They were all started in little 6-packs and never fertilized so I think heat is the important factor for growth.

My tomatoes are now out in their wall-o-waters staying toasty warm during our chilly 42 F nights. Good luck with your tomatoes. diana

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