Monday, May 10, 2010

Chick Killer

You might have recalled this scene from a few weeks ago when 33 of 35 eggs hatched. A new batch is scheduled to hatch in a few days and well, I don't think any of them survived the chick killer.Don't let that cute little face fool you. She may be kind to Blue Biscuit here and they have backing up down pretty pat since she started riding him yesterday...
but this child just may turn out to be a chick killer. Yes, I found our youngest grand daughter laying across the incubator twisting the temperature dial yesterday. This obviously wasn't the first time as the temperature inside was 103 Fahrenheit. I'd checked the temperature a couple days ago and it was the recommended 99.5. How long she had been little Miss Better Crocker slow cooking the eggs I don't know. The results or lack of them we'll find out in just 4 days from now.
I'm afraid we will be starting things over again. Too bad as the black Australorp rooster in the coop has begun to attack us on occasion and I'd like to just ring his neck if he wasn't needed. As for the tomatoes in the basement we had our first one until I moved the plant and broke it off. Okay, our grand daughter may have inherited her killing instincts from me but really it was an accident.

Since I thought you had to hand pollinate your tomatoes if you grew them in the basement and then this little one appeared I thought I had better do a little research. It appears that tomato flowers come with both a male and female organs and are self-fertilizing. They just need a little stimulation. A good shake of the plant or a flick of you finger will do. Some people use a tuning fork or an electric toothbrush. A couple years ago, I used a regular toothbrush and rubbed the insides from one flower to the next thinking you had to cross pollinate. Okay, chick killers grandma ain't too smart either. Now that I'm all wise and everything I now know that a good shake is what's needed. Also your not suppose to plant your tomatoes too close together for the wind is a great pollinator along with bugs whose wings vibrate and shake the flowers up. Too close and things are a bit of a squeaze and don't always happen.
What was really interesting though was that tomatoes pollinate best when they are fairly dry which is why they usually pollinate between 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. With rainy weather being a real hinderance.
Optimal fruit sets on with night time temperatures between 60 F and 70 F. Like that ever happens around here but a few nights maybe in late July or mid August. That is why I chose the Siberian and Glacier tomatoes to see if they won't do better in this area. Lovely gardening weather we don't have. Obviously as it is mid May and spitting snow.
Too high a temperatures is suppose to be a problem also but I wouldn't know about that. It sterilizes the pollen causing the blossoms to drop off. Of course if the weather is too dry then the pollen is too dry and will not adhere to the stigma. Picky little beggars don't you think? But you got to love them. Second thought, maybe not as my middle daughter doesn't like tomatoes. Of course there could just be something wrong with her. As for me a tomato sandwich or just a plate full of sliced tomatoes sprinkled with some salt is a little bit of heaven.

Apparently the the same is true with bell peppers. I flicked each flower and shook the plants so we'll see if that works as well as my toothbrush method did a few years ago.

Every flower that was caressed by my toothbrush formed a tomato.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about how wise and smart I am as we'll discuss cucumbers. Okay, it's only that I've been reading up on them since my husband with a firmness in his voice says he wants cucumbers this summer, lots of them. If I can just find my magic wand, the one I never had, then his wish is sure to come true. Otherwise, I'll just study up and do my best.

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