Thursday, May 11, 2017

First Tomato and New Vegetable Containers

I think it was very early March when I noticed a tiny tomato plant that had self-sown in a flower bed. I had not planned to have a tomato plant in this flower bed, but I was in no hurry to plant the bed so I did not immediately take it out. This particular bed holds water and I've found that if I plant too early, the plants succumb to root rot. I have been trying for the past few years to add amendments to address this issue. This spring I added a mixture of good bagged garden soil, pine fines (aka soil conditioner), and our own homemade compost. 

It was a few weeks after I noticed this little tomato plant that we had that cold snap (the temperature was 26 degrees one night at our house), and I fully expected that this little plant would simply turn to mush. But apparently it must have had a strong will to live. Or maybe it lived because it was protected by growing so close to the house. In any case, it came through unscathed, and I plopped an old tomato cage over it while I decided what I wanted to do with it. 

Last week I decided it was time to plant summer annuals in this bed. I love annual vinca (also called Madagascar periwinkle), which prefers a sunny, fairly dry location. I debated about removing the tomato plant (which likes more moisture than the vinca), but, by this time, it had gotten quite large. It was too large to transplant to another location and too healthy-looking to yank it out and throw it on the compost pile. So I took the easy way out and postponed the decision once again. 

Today, while watering the vinca, I noticed a tiny tomato fruit, and this sealed the deal. Even though I know that trouble awaits me as the tomato plant grows (crowding, watering, etc.), it will remain in my flowerbed. 

Although I can't be sure, I believe that it is a cherry tomato. Last year I had two cherry tomatoes in pots on the patio and I suspect that this is a seed from one of those. It's possible, though, that it could be a Roma or even a full-size tomato, as these seeds were probably in the compost I put in this bed. Whatever it is, I'm hoping for a winning tomato for the Great Tomato Contest on July 1. I planted tomatoes in my patio pots, but they were planted too late, I think, to produce ripe fruit by then. This may be the only entry I can come up with.

Speaking of patio tomatoes, I came across these nifty, self-watering vegetable planters on sale. Never able to resist a bargain, I bought two of them for the tomatoes I grow on the patio every year.  The planter is on rollers, which makes it easy to re-position the plant when it starts growing toward the sun. The bottom of the container is a water reservoir, and water is added through the tube that can be seen in the left corner of the container in this picture. Maintaining consistent moisture is important to prevent blossom-end rot in tomatoes. Keeping a regular pot consistently moist can be a challenge, especially when the plant gets large and the weather gets hot. I am really excited to see how well these planters work for our tomatoes. I have high hopes they will produce some excellent tomatoes! And did I mention they were on sale?

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