Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Taming the tomatoes

It seemed not too long ago that most of our tomatoes were not looking like they would ever grow more than a foot tall. We coaxed them a bit under the row covers longer than we first intended, but then again, this cool weather has lasted longer than we expected it to! Surprisingly enough the tomatoes have quickly grown to this state:

Slowly but surely, we're working out a system to tame these tomatoes. First, I had to get in there and prune the largest plants. Too many of them had branches and leaves on the ground, and because the stems were so heavy, much of the new growth was growing down instead of up. (I actually thought it was pretty cool that our heirlooms are the heartiest plants of the bunch.) We will be using a stake-and-trellis method, and instead of going out and buying new stakes, we decided to take some of the old branches from our burn pile. I am really loving the look of the branches, and after getting up some twine to hold up the plants I will be getting the longer branches up near the beans so that the scarlet runners can grow up instead of twisting around each other on the ground (when I hold them up, they are already about 4 feet tall!). And if that's not enough to have to catch up on, the weeds are out of control and we have a new pest to fend off around the squash and beans; black aphids. At least this time around, I won't kill the plants while trying to fight them. I'll be spraying that homemade hot pepper spray on a cloudy day.


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