Thursday, May 20, 2010

Early tomatoes

I spent some time this evening tying up tomato vines. I didn't bring up tomato cages from my main garden in the Piedmont (Clemson, SC), so I'm relying on bamboo stakes and stretchy plant ties, at least while the plants are still small.

There's time enough to add the vinyl-coated tomato towers that I like to use, but that are hard to find, at least in sturdy versions (there are plenty of flimsy sorts to be had). Or maybe I'll just use extra tall supports, and train the vines to use them!

The first three tomatoes that I planted, two Cherokee Purples and a Sweet Million, are flourishing, in spite of being subjected to sub-40°F temperatures shortly after planting. (In contrast, the peppers planted the following weekend were stunted by the cold, and have been replaced...)

I'm thrilled with how successful the lettuce and arugula has been, and maybe I'll finally have some decent chard (not to mention beets and carrots) to harvest, too. I think chard requires more nutrients and water than I've ever given it before, even though it's supposed to be an easy vegetable. So the current plants are thriving in nice raised beds filled with compost!

P.S. CEN, notice the arrow -- that's your Meyer lemon behind the tomato plant; it has 4 young fruits, along with a cluster of new flowers.


  1. I always fail on tomato support- Neil bought me some fancy cedar cages for Christmas. The kids have had great fun with the cross supports, using them as swords, they were not a success. :-)

  2. I knew that little lemon tree had found a good home with you! Hope it continues to thrive for you there.

  3. Hi i am new here. I envy your vegetable gardening success. That planting box is so high, is that necessary? I just thought it is very laborious. I can see the lemon tree is still very small, can those very few leaves already support fruits. In our case if they are still very small, we pinch the fruits while young to allow the plant to grow bigger first, so they will not die supporting many fruits. thank you

  4. Sue, tomatoes are so robust, at least with plenty of nutrients and water, I think they need GIANT tomato supports, which are hard to make nice-looking at all.

    And CEN, I'm delighted to have a young lemon tree with a story, and shepherd it along. Probably Andrea is right, and I should remove the young fruits this year, and encourage vegetative growth! But I'll be putting some organic Espoma fertilizer on it shortly.

    Andrea, thanks for dropping by. Certainly, all you actually need in a raised bed is 10-12" -- so our largest bed is bigger than necessary, but we were covering a timbered retaining wall- thus the substantial aspect!

    You're probably right on target with thinning the small fruits on a young lemon tree. It definitely can use some additional vegetative growth.


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