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Tomato basics...


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Margo
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 11 Oct 2010
Posts: 1974
Location: Summerhill Mayo Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you don't get any joy pick them and put them in a sunny window with a banana that will ripen them.
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walltoall
Rank attained: Orchard owner


Joined: 25 Aug 2008
Posts: 706
Location: Thurrock RM15 via Dungarvan and the Banner County

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BadFarmer,
If you have nice healthy looking tomato plants and yellow flowers on them right now. then all is not lost. Those flowers may turn into fruits. It IS very late in the season to be WAITING for your first tomatoes, but as Margo I think said if they get the sun (let's not mention water!) they will provide a tomato. This year 2011 has already been declared the coldest Summer for 50 years and that is without the August figures even being in yet. I live in a much warmer (and drier Sad ) part of the British isles and even I only got the first proper tomatoes ten days ago.

A hint to the wise. I'll assume you have a vine tomato. Do you know how to remove the leafed branches by bending them upwards towards the main stem until they snap off? Do that to all branches low down on vined tomatoes NOW. Start at the bottom and work up to the first truss. Many new tomato growers fail to do this and get loads of green growth and no tomatoes.

If yours are bush, I've no practical experience. Laughing

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badfarmer
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that Walltoall and yes they are vine.
Never heard about that and not sure I understand about breaking off 'leafed' brances up to the first truss either.
Aren't all branches leafed ? and can you explain what's meant by 1st truss.
Yes, I am stupid about tomatoes, among other things.
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walltoall
Rank attained: Orchard owner


Joined: 25 Aug 2008
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Location: Thurrock RM15 via Dungarvan and the Banner County

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No! You are not stupid! You are new to the game. And here I am your tutor. If I am not able to help you advance your knowledge and experience then it is I who is useless.

We called them "leafed branches" to differentiate from "side shoots". Side shoots emit between the branch and the main stem. Obviously you will have been removing side shoots during the growing season or you would not have a vine now! The "first truss" is the nearest set of flowers to the ground. It is usually between 12" and 24" up the vine and is the first place you see yellow flowers. They come in a little bunch which becomes a "truss" of tomatoes when all is well.

You are absolutely right to say all branches are leaved. But the ones lower down are no longer required now and can be easily broken off the main stem by pushing them UPWARDS and against the stem. They will snap off cleanly, leaving a clean wound which will dry in no time. In glasshouse production we would usually remove the bottom 6 branches all in one go just after the first truss set. And that would have been back in June.

Never remove a branch by pulling it DOWNWARDS and away from the stem as you will cause a running wound that lets in diseases. If I can I'll try to get a photo of my single "Money-maker" tomorrow but I'm very unreliable with photography. At all costs keep in touch and keep winning. Laughing

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badfarmer
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are a Star teacher Walltoall.
I am a much wiser man now and tomorrow will set about carrying out your instructions.
Many thanks. I will report progress.
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badfarmer
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks Margo and Walltoall.
I have carried out that latest task of snapping off lower leafed branches but of course I have another question.
Let's assume we get a dry sunny day, what's the watering proceedure?
Is it the ground or plant that gets watered or both?
How many times a day and what quantities.

Yes, I know, loads of questions there so to put it simply what's the way forward with regard to watering?
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walltoall
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Location: Thurrock RM15 via Dungarvan and the Banner County

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:32 pm    Post subject: watering tomatoes Reply with quote

In a greenhouse environment it can be a good idea to spray tomatoes with water sometimes to clean them or fight spider mite or even lower the temperature of the house in a real fryer. In the natural world tomatoes grow in the Amazon basin with their roots in a swamp and the plants swarm up whatever they can find to get a bit of light, meanwhile dealing with a very warm very moist and relatively shaded environment. In today's real life I use a gro bag with a plastic funnel stuck in it. By total coincidence I have a photo for you. I pour the water down the funnel about a gallon a plant a day best given in the morning but anytimes ok. Think swamp.


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Last edited by walltoall on Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Margo
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 11 Oct 2010
Posts: 1974
Location: Summerhill Mayo Ireland

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remove the bottom of a large flower pot and then plant the tomato into the flowerpot and then put the flower pot into the slit of the growbag. Then I put a bottomless flowerpot beside it for watering. That way the roots of the tomato can really grow and you can water the growbag easier.
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badfarmer
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't really understand your scenario Margo as my plants are in mother earth mixed with compost and manure. Supported by bamboo canes.

Thanks for that PIC 'walltoall' and again im a bit stumped. Are you saying a gallon of water per plant per day and administered to the root area?

What a fine crop of tomatoes you have there. Are you trying to make me jealous? LOL
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Margo
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 11 Oct 2010
Posts: 1974
Location: Summerhill Mayo Ireland

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry its to late in the day for me. I saw the photo of tomatoes in a growbag and just added what I do with tomatoes in growbags.
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walltoall
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Location: Thurrock RM15 via Dungarvan and the Banner County

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi BadFarmer. That photo was taken yesterday and especially for you, good buddy. I have just two plants the one on the left is "Money-maker" the other a modern vine. Remember I live at N51º30" maybe 200 miles nearer the Equator than your good self and we get sunshine almost every day. The only thing we DON'T get is rain so I give them babies 2gals a day to share between them. Do you see the clover at the base? that enhances the Nitrogen supply. I've supplied another photo for you to show how a redundant bird-feeder was converted to hold the strings and ALSO to show you what a truss looks like when it is "setting". You wont need to go mad with the water because your roots will have spread out to find water in the ground and anyway you are getting lashings of rain and less sun. The leaves will let you know if they are not getting enough water


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Last edited by walltoall on Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:29 pm; edited 2 times in total
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badfarmer
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah Margo, 'tis only 9pm.
Thanks for your help anyway.
What do these growbags cost and how many plants per bag is good?
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badfarmer
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, Walltoall, them's mighty fine plants.

How tall do they grow and when do they die?
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Margo
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 11 Oct 2010
Posts: 1974
Location: Summerhill Mayo Ireland

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It all depends where you get them from. You can get them as little as €2.99 upwards. I usually have 3 plants in mine. I have found the cheap growbags don't have so much compost in them.
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walltoall
Rank attained: Orchard owner


Joined: 25 Aug 2008
Posts: 706
Location: Thurrock RM15 via Dungarvan and the Banner County

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In North County Dublin under glass I've grown "Moneymaker" to 8' and then topped them to stop them going any further. These ones have already been topped at about 6' as I'll be away til Sept. This last shot is a flash shot taken a while ago at night to show what the plants look like when they are scalped. it also shows other details that may be useful to you.


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