There’s nothing quite like the taste of a freshly picked, home-grown tomato. If you have noticed a drop in production with the full heat of summer, there are a few simple things which will keep not only your tomatoes, but all vegies, healthy and productive:
- Deep watering around the base of the plant is critical. Water early to allow plants to dry before night. Wet leaves for extended periods can lead to disease.
- Mulch around the base of plants with three to four inches of organic material to help keep the roots cool and conserve water.
- Watch for signs of mildew and disease brought on by heat and humidity and remove and dispose of any diseased or damaged leaves or fruit.
- Keep the area around plants clear of fallen plant material and encourage air circulation.
Still in the vegie garden, if your cucumbers, pumpkins or squash are taking possession of your garden, you can prune them so they fill a suitable space.
Most varieties will set five to eight fruits per plant and once they have set that amount, you can start to prune. Find the fruit that is furthest out on the vine, leave a couple of nodes past that fruit and cut or pinch off the rest of the vine at that point. This will limit the number of fruits on the plant, but the ones already growing will all grow larger.
Gently moving the vines out of the way so they head off in a preferred direction is OK. If they have grown small roots along the vines, pull them up gently. They will wilt, then recover.
Check out the schedules for the Armidale Show, to be held March 1, 2 and 3. There are 79 classes for vegetables, and 76 for flowers. There’s something for everyone, including sections for junior growers, so have a look on the website (www.armidaleshow.org.au) and help support this local event.
Entries need to be at the pavilion early on the morning of Thursday, March 1.
The first meeting for 2018 for the Armidale Garden Club will be Thursday, February 22 and will start early at 6.30pm, with a barbecue. For catering, please let Ray Cantrell (Raymond.Cantrell@bigpond.com) know if you are coming.