Thursday, April 7, 2016

My Tomato Plant Experiment Just Became Bigger

I went to see our oldest daughter. Unbeknownst, I seem to have included her into one of my experiments. One of my tomatoes grown from seed needed a home. Our oldest grows a few vegetables in pots wherever she happens to be renting. This time she has a lovely enclosed back porch that has two big windows flooding the place with warm sunlight. Her lemon tree is there and I figured it needed a companion.
That tomato plant has grown like crazy. I swear the thing has doubled in size in one week and not just up but out. She thinks she can actually tell a difference each day. It is gorgeous. I was feeling rather guilty as none of mine look that good or big. Then reality set in. There is no way I have room for pots that large let alone eleven of them for just the tomatoes. A closer inspection of the lush plant revealed that it had only three blossom clusters in the earliest stage of development. Is all the energy going toward the plant and not fruit? When I gave it to her it was one of the smaller tomato plants. Question - will the larger, healthier plant of our daughter's produce more fruit in its lifetime compared to my own smaller plants? Even if it does, I do not have room for such a large pot let alone eleven such pots. I have a few round pots and I think I will try and use a few on the porch but round does not fit in as small a space as square or oblong. With trying to grow plants in the house to eat and a number of plants started for the outdoor garden space is a big problem. It is why I do not recycle pots such as cottage cheese containers and vegetable cans.


With her inspiration I took three tomato plants started from seed in a big pot and set it in front of the side window by the front door.  I put them wa....y down in the pot to bury more of the stem so as to grow more roots and give the plant more support. The tomato plants from seed get tall and bend over especially when loaded with fruit. To only allow it to grow more roots but give them more support. The plants are suppose to get only 12 inches tall but mine from seed are more like 20 inches or they were last year. Right now we are at 15 inches.

The plant on the left is smaller I  allowed the blossoms to develop earlier than the plant on the right. At this stage the plant on the left has more tomatoes. Will the one on the left end up producing more tomatoes or the larger plant on the right? I definitely won't have a problem with the plant on the left breaking because it is too tall. Right now it has over 40 blossoms or tomatoes on it. Some on the window side are turning red. Not bad when you think I started this plant the beginning of January. Definitely faster than tomato plants grown and set outdoors. The cloned tomatoes having a few more blossom clusters per plant than the tomatoes started from seed.

So really I have three experiments going now. Cloned versus started from seed, allowing blossoms to form earlier or later, and small pots versus large. I may end up deciding that a combination is best . That way the develop of tomatoes will be extended over a longer period of time.
Part of this experiment is how many tomato plants it will take to keep us supplied with tomatoes. Not sure it can be accomplished as how can one get enough of summertime fresh flavored tomatoes? 

 This is this years experiment but next year it might be too cold a winter to grow the tomatoes in the window and they will have to go under grow lights. Then I will switch to cold hardy lettuces in the pots in the windows. I started removing more BIG rocks from the front flower bed. It was truly a ROCK garden. Not much room for much else to grow. In will go a long box to transform into a cold frame. It was a box a heavy piece of equipment came in. I'm always looking around to recycle. One of those recycle projects is bent T-posts that will be changed and used in the garden. Another one is using feed sacks to make tarps for the garden. Things are truly a hopping.



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