Monday, December 12, 2011
First tomatoes of the season
My youngest daughter is showing the makings of fine gardener. She is our tomato gardener, sowing and tending to most of the tomato plants. Her latest achievement has been producing our first harvest of the season, three bright red tomatoes. In fact these are our earliest produced yet. And done without the aid of a glass house or window sill I might add. How did she do it? you ask.
Well back in autumn she came to me holding a clear round plastic food container filled with soil claiming she had planted a tomato. I nodded and said well done, like all good parents do, while at the same time doubting what she had planted was indeed a tomato, let alone that it would actual grow into anything. After all she is too short to reach the seed packets and the container had no drainage holes. But to my surprise and delight a few weeks later it indeed sprouted a tomato plant and survived long enough to reach planting out.
At the beginning of winter she planted it out into one of the winter beds. Again to my surprise and delight it survived winter, didn’t grow much but did survive. Then once spring started it took off. Unfortunately all of the winter plants that it was growing with had finished producing and it was time to let the chooks loose on this bed. So I had to transplant it to a new bed which due to the size it had grown was no easy task and I ended up snapping a number of its branches. I will admit I didn’t hold much hope for its chances, but again to my surprise and delight here it is today bearing the first produce of the season.
Sometimes it takes the naivety of a child to challenge what we know and do to make such wonderful discoveries. Next autumn I am going to ask her to try and repeat the experiment. She may have discovered the best time to plant tomatoes is actually autumn.
What has also impressed me with her achievement is that she must have saved and propagated her own seed. Something that I am still yet to do. If these tomatoes taste as good as they look I might help her seed save them again. Not that she needs my help... sigh.
When do you find the best time to sow tomatoes, and when do you get your first harvest?