Friday, May 10, 2013

Gardening Tips

The weather is here and it's time to enjoy it!  We know that a lot of you, like us, look forward to getting out to plant new, colorful life in your yards and gardens. Before you get going, here are a few gardening tips that we've learned along the way.  If you have additional tips to add or questions to ask, please do so in the comment form below, we'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hope You Love Tomatoes!

Tomatoes have different maturity dates so by picking varieties that will ripen at different times you can have tomatoes all season long. Some tomatoes grow entirely indoors and some start in the heated greenhouse before they are planted in the fields. Multiple plantings of multiple varieties extends the season from June through October and also prevents the loss of the entire crop should the blight come around.

We seeded the first of 3 plantings for the greenhouse crop on February 21, 2013. The tomatoes germinated in our house next to the woodstove because the greenhouses were not up and running. On March 4th, when the greenhouses were up and running, the plants were transplanted into 4" pots. On April 5th, 12 cherry, 12 plum and 460 Big Beef, Trust and Panzer tomatoes were taken out of the 4" pots and planted in bags filled with soil, two plants per bag. Round plastic clips attached to strings that hang from the greenhouse raters were placed on each the plants. As the plants continue to grow this string supports the plant’s weight. An automated watering system waters the tomatoes for 5 minutes, two times daily. The greenhouse temperature (65 degrees) is regulated by thermostats, which, turn on fans when it is too hot or turn on heat when it's too cool. The first blossoms are in bloom and will be ripe for picking starting in June.

The earliest field tomatoes (600 plants of Royal Mountie and Polbig) were seeded March 7th, transplanted into 4" pots on March 25, and were placed on wagons outdoors to acclimate to the weather on April 29th. These tomatoes already have blossoms. We use these varieties because they are 61 and 67 days from original transplant to harvest.

The main season crop, 1850 plants of cherry, chocolate cherry, yellow cherry, grape, plum, low acid, heirlooms and 12 varieties of big, red eating and sauce varieties like Mt Spring, Better Boy, Mt Fresh Plus, Supersonic and Jet Star, was seeded April 2 and will go out to the field around May 15th. These varieties are 70-76 days to harvest. Then our final planting of tomatoes (700 plants) will be seeded in early May, transplanted into trays 3 weeks later and ripe for a fall harvest.

When several of these plantings overlap in production it is a great time to make sauce and salsa because with large quantities coming in from field, we are likely to have great deals. I hope everyone loves tomatoes!