LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!

Hi Guys I love this time of year, the days are longer, the sun is high enough to stay above the mountain facing us and follows the ridge all the way down into the ocean before it disappears for a few hours. Another busy day in the tunnels today, not sure which way to turn as there is still so much to do but its keeps me out of mischief ūüėČ ¬†First thing this morning I decided to pick some more strawberries from the 125 strawberry plants that I have growing this year….from 12 plants that were grown last year ( I will show you exactly how to do this in another post coming up soon). ¬†So I started to pick my lovely red strawberries but as I went along the bed I began to get more and more disappointed as there were so many ripe fruits that had gone rotten ūüė¶ ¬†I knew the reason for this was the fact that the bad ones were lying on the damp soil and should have put straw around them when I first planted them…..I forgot, or should I say, I was too busy doing other stuff. ¬†Anyway I knew if I was going to get a good yield ¬†from my strawberry bed I needed to do something before I lost more yummy fruit, so with the help of my hubby we carefully covered the soil around the strawberries with….yep…straw. ¬†Very fiddly job when there are so many mature plants. ¬†My advise is that you do this job when you first plant them, which is what I should have done!

Great bed of strawberries but having to throw a lot away due to the fruits lying on damp soil.....They need tucking into a nice straw bed!

Great bed of strawberries but having to throw a lot away due to the fruits lying on damp soil…..They need tucking into a nice straw bed!

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Nicely tucked into their new straw bed ūüôā P1000934 ¬† Once I had that job out of the way I decided that I needed to tidy up a little, especially as I fell over the hose yesterday ūüė¶ ¬†I also planted on the courgettes in between the corn and beans (three sisters) and have a baby courgette already.

Courgettes are coming on nicely

Courgettes are coming on nicely

The lettuce has settled down now and is over the transplant shock. Also the flower hanging baskets, of which I have done 15 for both friends and myself are starting to look really good. ¬†I will keep them in the tunnel for a couple of weeks so that when they finally go outside they will be in full bloom. P1000936 Tomorrow will once again be a busy day. ¬†I have to transplant my peppers into larger pots, plant some more potatoes, transplant some more salad seedlings into cell trays and stake my tomato plants….not much really ūüėČ P1000960P1000956

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Thanks for tuning and happy gardening.

Take Care

Eve

Juicy Cherry Tomatoes Are So Easy To Grow – Honest!

Do you enjoy eating those little cherry tomatoes……I do and eat them like sweets (much healthier)!!

These juicy cherry tomatoes are so easy to grow if you follow these simple instructions:

First thing we need is a hanging basket….any old hanging basket will do. ¬†I use old rusty hanging baskets that I used to have flowers in but are now too tatty to have on display in my garden for the whole world to see!!

The liner can be made from the plastic bag that the compost came in, although you can buy a hanging basket liner but they can be expensive and that defeats the object of growing your own to save money as well as eating healthily.

Place the hanging basket upside down on the plastic bag and cut a circle about 50% larger than the diameter of the basket using a sharp knife. If you are going to plant more than 1 tomato then just place a few plastic bags on top of each other so that you only need to cut once!!

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Once you have your circle of plastic, pop it into the hanging basket with the black part on the outside.  I think this looks better to look at than the side with writing etc on.

Fill the basket with compost (grow bag) almost to the top.  Make a large well (hole) in the centre of the compost and add a sprinkling of crushed egg shells (calcium) and a small teaspoon of Epsom Salts (magnesium).  This is not essential but something that I do.

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Carefully take the cherry tomato plant out of its pot and remove any discoloured leaves from the bottom.  As most cherry tomato plants are determinate, there is no need to remove too many leaves as they plant will grow out into a bush rather than up.

Place the tomato plant into the planting hole and firm the compost around the plant. ¬†Don’t forget your label so you know what type of tomato you are growing.Image

REMEMBER TO WATER WELL, DONT FORGET YOUR LABEL AND VOILA!

I will give you more information about the ‘dos and donts’ of growing tomatoes and what can go wrong….which sometimes happens to the best of us…..including ME!! ¬†(thats why I have the photos!!)

Cherry Tomatoes in Hanging Baskets And Containers

Cant wait for my sweets to be ready to eat!!!

Eve

How To Plant Tomatoes

First things first. ¬†The most important thing to growing any plant is the soil that you are going to grow it in. ¬†If you have poor soil then you cant expect to get healthy plants…Common sense really!!

Tomatoes are not really fussy about soil but I always add some organic compost to mine, usually a grow bag or two.  If you have your own compost heap, even better.  Unfortunately mine is not very good at the minute as we are building some new compost bins.

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Always plant tomatoes where they will get lots of sun (wishful thinking!). Try and plant either early morning or the evening if the weather is warm so that they don’t get transplant ¬†shock.

Carefully take your tomato plant out of its pot (you might have to squeeze the pot slightly if there are lots of roots).  Make the planting hole deeper than you would normally do as we need to bury the tomato plant right up to the top few leaves, this will enable the plant to produce more roots along the stem and make a much stronger plant.

As tomatoes are hungry plants and need lots of nutrients you can add a couple of extra things into the bottom of the planting hole, although this is not essential and additional nutrients can be added if needed as the plant grows.

For magnesium, which promotes plant vitality and productivity, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts into each hole.Image

For Calcium, add a handful of crushed egg shells which helps prevent ‘Blossom End Rot’ which I will explain in more detail later on this blog.¬†Crushed Egg Shells

Now add a little organic compost into the planting hole before putting the tomato plant in.

Remember to take off all the ‘side shoots’/leaves right up to the top few.Image

Put the tomato plant into the hole so the lowest set of leaves is at soil level then fill the hole with the compost/soil.Image

Press the soil down around the plant gently but firmly to remove any air pockets, LABEL and water well.Image

As soon as you see the first ‘trusses’ (flowers) then you need to start feeding your tomatoes with a good quality tomato feed which is available from any good garden¬†center¬†and some super markets. ¬†There are alternative, cheaper home-made fertilizers to feed ¬†the tomatoes which I write about soon.

Hope that this information, along with the video will help you to plant your tomatoes successfully.

In my next blog on tomatoes I will explain a little more about nutrient¬†deficiencies¬†and will show you some photos as most tomato growing problems happens to the best of us…..INCLUDING ME!!

REMEMBER THAT TOMATOES  ARE HUNGRY FEEDERS AND NEED FEEDING EVERY WEEK, OR EVEN TWICE A WEEK DEPENDING ON WHERE THEY ARE GROWING!

(Please read the instructions on your tomato feed bottle).

There is so much more to this vegetable/fruit. ¬†I will help you along with growing your tomatoes and ensuring that you grow strong healthy plants and also what you can do with those yummy tomatoes, including, relishes, salsa, sauces, sun-dried, preserving including freezing etc etc etc…..Stay Tuned!!