By Jannie Vaught
Our gardens are beginning to shape up!
Our potatoes have been hilled for the first time, Compost and Phosphorus and Tomato Tone along with some Calcium Nitrate granules all measured and mixed into the compost, wheelbarrow going down the rows and placed at each plant and a handful between for the growing roots to find. All this done or still in process. As our family has stepped deeper into garden open space shelves and some empty with the employees looking worried and stressed as they work tirelessly to re-stock. For me, I have lived in very small rural towns and the shelves were often not bulging as we have become accustomed to now. We made and raised or grew what we needed ourselves by growing a garden, feed, and grain for our stock, raising it and milking it. Right there is work and learning skills. Luckily here in our small rural community, we are surrounded by self-sufficient life skills.
Let’s go to growing our most grown fruit/vegetable the tomato. The beginning is the soil, often in garden we plant in yearly they need amending and replenishing yearly. Additions of Calcium carbonate, calcium nitrate, garden lime, and carbon in compost. Next is planting, plant them to the first or second bottom leaf which has been pinched off, some even plant them laying on their side with the top exposed. the watering system installed, and very important support with tomatoes cages large enough to hold the mature plant or a trellising system to hold them upright. and Pruning. Bonnie Plants has good how-to prune tomatoes on line. If you have Determinant tomatoes or highbred such as Roma, they say not to prune just support as they are determined to grow like a bush and designed to produce fruit and will stop when the heat gets to about 90 and stays there. Do trim all the lower leaves, yellow leaves, and succor, those little tiny branches that appear in the crotch of the main branches. Use a clean sharp pair of trimmers or scissors. For the Indeterminant plants, they will need almost daily tending. Watching for insects, keeping the succors clipped off and tying and supporting them to prevent breaking of heavy fruited branches. Removing excess leaves “But” keep enough leaves to “Shade” the ripening fruit to prevent Sunscald or sun blistering, which is a sunburn and looks like a dry yellowing area or even darkening to the fruit. When pruning take time to develop that “Pruning Skill.” Feed Tomato Tone every three weeks on schedule and consistent watering and your problem will become learning to Can and preserve your abundant fruit.
When you observe gardening as a complete system we see a picture of soil connect to water, connected to wind rain microbes and the complete picture. Remember the tale of the Blind and the elephant, one felt a rope, one a wall and so on. They were just seeing one piece not the complete picture. Nature and our garden are a Big beautiful picture, full of many pieces fitting together in harmony. When we look at a problem take time to see the connection.
Growing Green in an epic garden year with Jannie