Welcome to my blog

I was born in Guernsey (but now live in Brittany) and our main industry was growing tomatoes although that industry has now virtually disappeared. Growing tomatoes to a Guernseyman is like wine to a Frenchman, it's in our blood! I do not profess to be an expert, but I have picked up a few tips and techniques which work for me.


Sunday, 17 April 2011

Planting out Tomatoes

This is my second post today, as I wanted to be able to put the cucumber post under that label.
I decided yesterday to plant my first tomatoes into the soil, the trusses are starting to flower, so it is a good time. Also the pots are drying out fairly quickly, and as you can see they have a very good root system.




I always put my plants at least 18 inches (46cm) apart, this gives higher production and keeps good air circulation around the plant. Years ago, when I first started working in the tomato industry, we spaced at 12 inches, luckily we had a very good experimental station and the trials  that they did produced more tomatoes per greenhouse by having wider spacing. Leaves need light to help produce fruit, so there is also less shade on them.
I have added a lot of well rotted compost to my beds this year, that's the bonus of having two horses. I still had some beds that I should have done ages ago, so I finished them all off yesterday. I removed about 8 inches of the old top soil, then added a few barrow loads of compost, then forked it well in.
 
Now all the beds are ready for the rest of the plants, which I will plant next week. I have placed them on boards so the roots will not grow into the soil. They are also well spaced for plenty of light.
I put the old top soil onto the paths, so as to build them up a little, and my poly-tunnel is starting to look a little tidier. This is my favourite time of the year. I can't wait to string up all the plants in a few weeks' time to see how I do this there is a small video in the video's menu. 


I did mention last week how to spot if your young plants are getting too much water by the lightness of the leaves. This picture shows exactly what I mean.  As you can see the plant on the left is a lot lighter, and has had slightly too much water.
All of the seedlings that I transplanted last week are looking healthy enough and I am willing them to grow faster, although I do have my shop bought plants to concentrate on. We have had some very hot days here in Brittany this spring and the poly-tunnel gets very hot. I will have to make some roof vents one day, but there is so much to do in the rest of the garden, and my new on-line web sites are keeping me very busy as well, which is a blessing as they do pay the bills.
 

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