Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Predator becomes friendly helping hand.

True life has an uncanny way of following fiction or I suppose the fact is that fiction is really a reflection on true life.

Some months ago I wrote about the life of a tomato Who’d be a tomato. In that story I talked about the predator becoming the helping hand.

As I knew it would, true life has emulated what I wrote and now, I find myself lavishing loving attention on the seven tomato plants that have been allowed to survive thus far.

The three on the left are Marmande, a local variety of big tasty beef tomatoes, then there are 2 golden sunrise and two cerise rouge – simply red cherry!

The Marmande are a big brute of a tomato and as you can see, they are set to become the playground bully on this bit of my domain.

I decided to grow the tomatoes in pots this year as I had filled up the beds I prepared and previously, in the UK, my father in law always grew tomatoes in pots in the greenhouse.

The lack of room in my beds also prompted me to grow my carrots in a container. On a couple of the gardening social networks to which I belong, there has been a great deal of discussion about container growing, and my friend ilex over at:

has been an inspiration to me. The other fact I learnt, only recently, is that the carrot root fly can only fly below 20 inches (500mm) above the ground, so, by putting my carrots in this container and raising it up on a shelf the pot is higher than root fly can get!!!!

I’ll tell you in a few weeks whether it worked or not!

Elsewhere things are growing well and I’m feeding most of the French population of snails, slugs and rabbits. Just occasionally, I even manage to pick something for myself.

Rabbits ate the basil and I’m not sure it is going to recover. I thought it might but it has been transferred to the ICU and the prognosis is not good.

In the orchard there is a sad face on the fruitless cherry trees and the plums are also looking short of fruit. I have plenty of apples though and some walnuts are beginning to form. It does look however, that this year will bear a poor orchard crop for us, with no cherries, no pears and no plums. It’s too early to say about the figs, but the tree has been disturbed as this was the first year of pruning after many years of neglect.


Kate said...

I came here to get away from what I have just written, and it is lovley to read about what you are doing, Ian. Isn't it nice to share all this stuff - it is the web that keeps us all connected and the writing is the maintenance that keeps the web in good condition and stops the holes getting irreparably large.

ilex said...

That lovely photo of the tomatos in the moss-covered pots would make Martha Stewart positively green with envy.

I'm so sorry to hear about your fruit trees, Ian. Perhaps next year will be a better year?

Patrick said...

Too bad about the fruit. I doubt I'll get many plums, but my other fruit seems okay so far.

About the tomatoes. I don't have any experience with the varieties you are growing, but for most varieties I am familiar with those pots look much too small. I guess I would normally use pots 2-3 times as big.

One of the first problems you will probably have is regulating moisture in the dirt. The plants will probably become root-bound, and when you add water it will probably just drain quickly through. Tomatoes also don't like having wet feet, so you might have problems with the water trays underneath.

While some plants cope with having a small container by just not getting big, tomatoes (and most vegetables) aren't that flexible, and they probably just won't produce any edible fruit.

If tomatoes don´t get enough resources (water or nutrients) from their roots they get a problem called blossom end rot, and you can´t usually eat these. If they get too much or irregular watering the tomatoes split, and while edible spoil quickly.

There is not really an urgent reason why you need to switch to bigger pots right away, but you might want to keep an eye out for problems and be prepared to switch to larger pots if it´s necessary.