seen this happy little fellow today in the Moville Community Garden.....
The curling in or rolling in of leaves on Tomatoes is a common sight during spells of heat in the summer months. As a result of intense heat, above 35C, the leaves of tomatoes will roll in as a defense mechanisms, and in many cases will not 'uncurl'. Its a problem which can be avoided by adequate temperature management, and in many cases will give no adverse affect on tomato yields.
Check out Physiological Leaf Roll in Tomato for more details
The June 20th Gardening Feature for Derry Daily ' Lets make those Tomatoes work' can be found here and the Donegal Daily Gardening Feature can be found here
I'm using a lot of these handy biodegradable pots for planting in this year, these jpots are made from bamboo, so after a good few uses I can simply compost down these pots, instead of having to gather up the plastic pots for recycling...or worse...throw them away :-(
I love the environmental philosophy behind the Jpot brand, hence why I'm using then, and urging you guys to give them a whirl too. Check out the Jpot website for some great info about the manufacturing process and more
Our Tomato plants in North West Regional College are coming on mighty, we had originally sowed these back in January in Maybrook.
I grow my Tomatoes using a technique called Ring Culture, and you can see our expensive watering aids that have been added this week.
Top of the line, no money spared here folks...
Yup, exactly as it looks. Old milk cartons with the bottoms cut off and planted beside each plant. This allows for the watering to be better targeted to the plants. Also, tomato plants are shallow rooted so if you water them every day on the soil you was a lot of nutrients away from the roots, so in turn you have to feed them more. This technique with the milk cartons allows for the water to be slowly fed to the roots in a more controlled manner....
Our companion plants are Marigolds and are planted inbetween each tomato plant.
Today i've made a start on sowing Tomato seeds in Maybrook. We have a packet of Moneymaker seeds, Moneymaker isn't the most spectacular of flavours but its a great all-round tomatoe, high cropping with great disease resistance. We're sowing into multi purpose compost with some added Perlite, and with a top dressing of perlite. These will be watered and placed in an unheated greenhouse with a propogator lid on the top of the seed tray....
The seeds should be popping up in a few weeks, then a month or so later pot them up into smaller pots then about a month or so later plant them into bags....see here for more on growing ring culture toms...
Toms are a plant which you want to sow early in the season, others include chillies and peppers as they require a long growing season...
Today we were chatting abotu side shoot removal on tomatoes (we'll get to that later), but first I wanted to explain and show a few pics on how we grow some of our tomatoes, using an old fashioned technique called 'ring culture', to explain simply, rather than just planting the tomatoes and leavign them be, you plant them and then add a cyclinder over the top of them (a pot with the bottom cut off), you then fill the pot up with compost, as the plant grows, until its filled to the top. This style of growing encourages the plant to produce more feeder roots, thus giving you a bigger harvest. In this pic we're planting the first of our plants down in Gillespie Polytunnel and placing the empty pots over the top.
By covering the lower part of the stem with compost, this encourages the plants to develop more feeder roots, and a thicker stem in the plant. In this picture you can see the new root growth obtained on the stem as a result of ring culture growing.
To ensure your plants don't turn into big bushy messes, you should manage the growth by removing 'side shoots' as they appear. This controls the amount of over all branches and in turn flowers on the plant to ensure a better quality of fruit.
Wait until the side shoots are a size your happy to handle before removing them, say 3" or so in length
Also we chatted about the New Zealand Flatworm, something which has been in northern ireland since the 60's.
"The New Zealand flatworm (Arthurdendyus triangulatus sensu Jones
& Gerard, 1999), was first recorded in the UK in Belfast
(1963) and shortly afterwards in Edinburgh (1965), but is now widely
distributed throughout much of Scotland, Northern Ireland and, to a lesser
extent northern England (Cannon et al., 1999). In Scotland, A.
triangulatus occurs predominantly in botanical and domestic gardens, and
currently is not generally considered to be a problem on agricultural land. In
Northern Ireland it is found in domestic gardens but also appears to have
colonized grass leys in many localities.
However, its impact on earthworm populations remains ambiguous, with evidence
of numbers in areas with large NZF populations being reduced temporarily before
recovering to levels recorded prior to invasion. Other studies have suggested a
differential susceptibility of earthworm species to A. triangulatus
predation, with recovering populations exhibiting an altered species profile.
Results of a large-scale survey of earthworms and A. triangulatus
populations in grass fields in Northern Ireland has shown a marked increase in
occurrence of NZF's, particularly in field margins (Murchie et al., 1999; Cannon et al., 1999)." - Queens University report
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