Saturday, September 11, 2010
Self Sustaining Food-tomatoes
ARG, my backspace button has decided to not function and I have written this post 4 times now. Every time I misspell a word, I end up having to start over! I read at several forum boards across the internet, mostly at the APN where we are all trying to help each other become more self sufficient. I have noticed a trend that disturbs me. People do not seem that interested in gardening or working on learning how to produce their own food. It seems to be the norm to continue to stock up on store bought items. Now, I don't have anything against that, to me it's all good if a person is stocking up store bought food. Everyone has to eat so it's all a good thing. The problem comes in when you think about how store bought food will sooner or later be consumed. It's not a sustainable source.
I promised to talk a bit about growing tomatoes so let's do that now. Tomatoes are easier to grow than people think. All you need is a 5 gallon bucket, some rich soil, good drainage and at least 8 hours of sunlight a day. Don't forget the fertilizer, tomatoes are heavy feeders and need some help thru the fruiting season. Tomatoes can tolerate a pH level as low as 5.5 but prefer closer to neutral (7). There are plenty of heirloom tomatoes available in either plant form or seed form. The bushy types of plants (determinate) or the vining types(indeterminate). Don't forget about those wonderful cherry tomatoes, they are great for fresh eating and will produce tons of fruits thru the season. Tomatoes do the best when they are supplied with even moisture. Not too wet tho, tomatoes hate wet roots but if they lack water, they simply do not produce or your fruits will have blossom end rot. You will know you lack moisture if your fruits have black spots on the bottoms. Even moisture also prevents the fruits from cracking from a sudden, heavy rain. Indeterminate plants that vine out will need to be supported in some way. You could always just let them sprawl but the plants tend to do better, contract less disease and are easier to harvest from if they are tied to a trellis or a stake. tomato plants can very quickly grow upwards of 5' so be prepared with a tall and well anchored stake or trellis to support them. Pinching off side suckers that grow off the main branch next to leaf stems will help you to keep you tomato plat growing up instead of out. Tomatoes prefer weather between 55F and 90F, above or below can cause poor fruiting.