This year I intend to create some very serious neighborhood Tomato Envy! I have plans to produce Tomatoes so tasty you will salivate at the very thought of them. This weekend I prepared the soil ready for my first planting for the season. In two weeks time I will buy from the local supplier Tomato plants that I will put into the newly prepared bed and they will thrive. A second planting will soon follow and will consist of 7 varieties of heirloom Tomatoes that I ordered last week and they should be arriving in the mail very soon. I intend to plant them around the 15th of October. They will grow super tasty Tomatoes of all shapes and sizes and I reckon I will need to hire a security guard once the word gets out that they are ready. The third and final batch for the year will be planted in December and I will be picking deep into autumn.
I have a Tomato plan and I am working it. Yep, you have got to have a plan! First thing I did was to work out how many plants I wanted, allocate some space in a sunny location (around 6 hours of sun per day minimum) and prepare the ground. Tomatoes can be quite fussy so this is what I did to prepare a 5 square meter patch. I added roughly 1 wheelbarrow worth well composted manure, 3 cups of blood and bone, 1 cup sulfate of potash and a round 2 cups of a balanced mixed fertiliser to cover off on any trace elements. Tomatoes are hungry buggers but the trick is not to feed them everything up front but to ration their diets over the season. So that job is done. Next week I will check the PH of the soil and make an adjustment or two with garden lime. Between 6.5 and 7.0 is best if you want to create maximum neighborhood Tomato Envy. I will then get hold of 6 plants, mulch them with sugar cane and watch them grow.
Pests can be a problem, so I plan for them too. I minimise the risk by encouraging birds to hang around the veggie patch, they seem to take care of the caterpillars for me. Tiny white flies can get out of control sometimes but I buy lacewing predators via the internet to solve the issue. I also have a sticky trap set up to catch the odd moth or three. I also do companion planting with Basil and Marigolds. Basil discourages insects and the Marigolds deter the pesky nematodes from attacking the root system.
Things I intend to do with my Tomatoes this year are firstly, compare the taste of a Black Russian Tomato bought at a nursery with the heirloom variety. If my suspicions are correct, they will taste different. Why I hear you ask? Well I would not be surprised if the variety grown at the nursery is not actually the heirloom variety like it claims to be. Watch this space. I will provide you with a report which will determine if my suspicions are correct. I also will freeze a lot of the cherries for winter soups and sauces maybe make sauce or even relish. But one thing I will definitely do is cause abundant neighborhood Tomato Envy!