Gardening Articles for week ending 11th February 2017
Written by Wally Richards. [Photo]
This week lets have a good look at tomatoes and the growing of them.
We are already halfway through a summer that did not happen (Except in Northland and a few other areas) and a number of people have commented on the long time it has taken for their tomatoes to ripen.
The reason is insufficient direct sun light which is really causing lots of problems for gardeners through out most of the country.
Here we are in the beginning of February and not only has there been only a handful of good sunny days, there are also too many days and nights of chilly winds.
The weather is more like being halfway though autumn instead of summer. The plants are more than confused and I noticed the other day a pear tree of mine in flower?
This can happen sometimes when we have an Indian Summer with mild temperatures going into winter with shorter day light hours, which triggers premature flowering.
But first time I have seen this in the middle of summer; the cause lower temperatures and insufficient direct sun light hours..
My observations are that a couple of self sown Russian Red tomatoes one outside in a sheltered raised garden and another in a small glasshouse have done very well.
The glasshouse one produced ripe tomatoes before Xmas and the outside one in early New Year.
If not for these two feral tomato plants I would still be waiting for my own seed raised tomatoes to ripen.
One big plus about this crazy weather is that the dreaded psyllids and whitefly have not been a problem as the temperatures have not been favorable for them to breed.
The sticky whitefly traps I am using in the glasshouses have caught a few adults and that has helped to keep them at bay.
Aphids on the other hand are not affected by the cooler weather and they have had to be sprayed for every couple of weeks. Normally in hot weather they disappear till it cools down a bit.
You may think that growing tomatoes at this time of the year is a waste of time because they are normally fairly cheap to buy. The price at writing is still fairly dear at about $3.00 a kilo which means the commercial growers are also having problems.
From my two Russian Red tomato plants I can pick a couple of kilos every week so that is a nice savings.
To encourage your tomatoes to ripen and grow in these more trying weather times; then on a sunny dry day remove some leaves to open up the fruit to the sunlight (when there is some)
Bottom leaves are good to remove as any insect pests are most likely to be on those leaves. The leaves should be sealed in a plastic bag to rot in the sun and then placed in the compost or on top of the soil in gardens where there are no tomatoes or potatoes.
Laterals are the side shoots of tomatoes that emerge from the area between trunk and leaf.
If you allow these to grow you will end up with a massive plant having to use multiple stakes to support all the stems, foliage & fruit. The fruit will tend to be smaller as a lot of the growth is going into vegetation rather than the fruit.
Removing the laterals will reduce the amount of fruit but these should be bigger as a result.
For those that are growing tomatoes that can weigh one kilo or more with one slice bigger than your bread for a sandwich you not only remove laterals but you also reduce down to one or two fruit on a truss by removing all the smaller ones after the fruit has set. Use a big cup sized bra, tied to a stake to support the fruit
When removing leaves, laterals, flowers or fruit, this should always be done on a sunny day when the air is dry as moisture from humidity can allow disease to rise up and enter the wound.
That can lead to an area on the trunk where it starts to rot through, causing all the plant above that area to die while any growth below the rot area will thrive.
The plant will. as this is happening, generate aerial roots hoping to reach soil to re-root and save itself.
This is like a triple by-pass.
Because tomato and potato plants can root all the way up the trunk or helm we should plant seedlings deeper and up to the first true leaves. This gives the plant a much larger root system and make the top more productive.
Tomato plants grown on open ground and not staked will tend to lay down from the weight of leaves and fruit where they will create secondary rooting and become a big spreading plant as a result.
Tomatoes are not climbing plants, it is our intervention by staking that keeps the growth upright and the fruit off the soil.
A important factor in growing tomatoes is to keep feeding the plant a top quality tomato food even after you start to pick ripe fruit. As long as the growing conditions are favorable the plant will keep growing and producing fruit but being a gross feeder you must keep feeding.
My own Wallys Secret Tomato food is preferred by many gardeners who report great results from it each season. There is not only ample nitrogen for growth but plenty of potash to ensure good fruit with excellent flavor. Having Neem Tree Powder incorporated with the food gives protection against some insect pests.
Produce, fruit in particular apples along with honey are going to be expensive this year because of the unusual weather conditions so a word of advise for gardeners put in winter crops now and save some money later on.
There are some people who strongly believe that our weather is manipulated by using what has been called Geoengineering. This has been scoffed at by the Govt and many scientists as conspiracy, tin foil hat stuff.
For those readers that maybe interested the information below is from the CIA official web site;
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Central Intelligence Agency Director John O. Brennan at the Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, DC 29 June 2016
(A recent Ex-CIA whistle blower has said that for the CIA Director to come out publicly with this statement means that in all likelihood this practice of weather control has been going on for up to 20 years.
From all accounts it would appear that geoengineering has and is in practice in NZ. Maybe that is the cause of our poor summer and strange, unusual weather?)
Directly from CIA web site's last director:
Another example is the array of technologies often referred to collectively as geoengineering that potentially could help reverse the warming effects of global climate change.
One that has gained my personal attention is stratospheric aerosol injection, or SAI, a method of seeding the stratosphere with particles that can help reflect the sun�s heat, in much the same way that volcanic eruptions do.
An SAI program could limit global temperature increases, reducing some risks associated with higher temperatures and providing the world economy additional time to transition from fossil fuels.
The process is also relatively inexpensive the National Research Council estimates that a fully deployed SAI program would cost about $10 billion yearly.
As promising as it may be, moving forward on SAI would raise a number of challenges for our government and for the international community.
On the geopolitical side, the technologys potential to alter weather patterns and benefit certain regions at the expense of others could trigger sharp opposition by some nations. (My italics)
Others might seize on SAIs benefits and back away from their commitment to carbon dioxide reductions. And, as with other breakthrough technologies, global norms and standards are lacking to guide the deployment and implementation of SAI.
Posted: Jun 29, 2016 04:43 PM
Last Updated: Jun 29, 2016 04:43 PM
Makes one think that our weather may not be as natural as we would like to believe and those growing crops for their own use or as a business including farmers would likely be very annoyed if the weather was a result of some massive experiment.
Only thing left in my home garden now is the beefsteak heirlooms and only a handful of plants at that, everything else got off to slow start with a November in the Far North which felt more like September so now will wait till April and see what sort of winter garden I can get going.
Big thanks to Wally for pointing out the truth about geoengineering and weather warfare that is having an ever increasing negative effect on our ability to grow our own food.
Wally the Awake Gardner