Page 98 - 2017-greengate-Gardensense-magazine
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tomatoes - from seed to plate
Tomatoes are one of the most widely grown of all garden plants, edible or flowering. There are a great many varieties; gardeners should choose varieties that will yield the type of tomatoes that they or their family enjoy.
Growing from seed can be especially gratifying, with the reward being delicious home grown goodness. Staring with a seed and ending up with table fare is something everyone should experience.
Vine tomatoes
Vine tomatoes are considered indeterminate. That is, they continue growing for an indeterminate length of time. This means they will grow and produce fruit until the frost kills them. Vine tomatoes need to be planted in tomato cages or staked for support. Fruit from unsupported plants may rot and discolour on the ground. Vines should be tied to tomato cages or stakes with stake tape as they grow.
greengate’s feature seed suppliers, Rene’s Garden and West Coast Seeds, both produce extensive varieties of both heirloom and hybrid tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes are traditional varieties that are time tested and sure to please. Hybrid tomatoes are breed for disease resistant and consistent production. Both varieties of seeds are non- genetically modified.
Tomato seeds require a minimum of 6-8 weeks to grow to a size that is suitable for
planting outdoors. Starting plants as early as possible will ensure larger seedlings, but also may require transplanting to a larger pot before finally being planted outdoors. Plant seeds in flats, or other containers, according to package directions. Peat pellets are ideal for starting seedlings, but potting soil can also be used. Water well and cover, keep moist but not too wet. Place seeds in a spot with a lot of sunlight, or place under grow lights if suitable sunlight is not available. Thin plants as necessary.
Once the treat of frost has passed tomato seedlings should be planted outdoors in a warm, sunny bed with good drainage and rich soil. They also do well in large containers on a deck or patio and thrive with reflected sun, like off of the siding on your house, as well as in direct sun. Tomato seedlings should be planted deeper than most other seedlings, up to their first set of leaves.
Tomatoes have two types of growth habits, bush and vine. Bush tomatoes are determinate, that is, they grow to a specific size, produce fruit and then die. With their shrub-like growth habit they do not usually need staking. Vine tomatoes continue growing for an indeterminate length of time. This means they will grow and produce fruit until the frost kills them. Vine tomatoes need to be planted in tomato cages or staked for support.
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