Friday, December 18, 2009
Tomato tips from the professionals
Tomatoes again! I delivered a fresh batch of Tomato seedlings to Tony Lanza at Coldstream. Tony is a commercial grower that I have been supplying young plants to for about 3 years now. Interestingly he was a Scotsburn customer before I started here, that’s over 20 years ago. Shows how things have changed, Tony and his son Frank tell me that they were told back then that Scotsburn had decided not to grow for commercial growers any longer. These days we’re just happy for the business. I actually like growing contract orders it’s very demanding but instils excellent discipline.
This was the first time I had visited the Lanza’s farm. It was a beautiful morning and the view is stunning but I bet it gets cold in the winter.
I was struck by the staking. At first I thought there was one stake per plant but look closely, there are 3-4 plants between each stake. If your vision is good enough you will also see a blue string running each side of the stakes. The plants will grow up through this string support. I guess Tony will add strings as the plants grow taller.
The other thing I noticed was that now the plants in the photo have established, Tony allows the weeds between the rows to establish too. He just starts mowing them before they flower & set seed.
I also met Mrs. Lanza. I think I know who does most of the work. All this reminds me that Kerry’s Toms at home have started to struggle a bit. If you remember they are in 250-300mm pots and it is getting difficult to get enough water into them on hot days. I also imagine that they have gobbled most of the nutrient out of the potting mix, these plants are now taller than me. Kerry has top dressed with a small amount of fresh chicken manure and some worm wee. I’ll keep you posted.