Archive | 10:51 pm

Extending the tomato season

28 Mar

Fading tomatoes

I love, love, love tomatoes. So I get sad at this time of year when the plants are dying back and the fruit are looking dodgy.

I’ve been trying to raise some cold-tolerant varieties of tomatoes from seed, but for some reason they are a bit slow off the mark. My main tomato plants have died back significantly, and although they still have lots of fruit on there, it is high on the plant (so suffering from sunburn), and some of the fruit is getting leathery. The growing tips however still look wonderful and healthy, which gave me an idea.

Tomato cutting

I have read about growing tomatoes from cuttings. The idea is that you cut out a growing tip (either the top of the plant or a lateral shoot) and bury it deeply in some soil. Apparently you need to keep it well watered and protected for a few days, then it will take root. Apparently cuttings produce hardier plants than the original, but I’ll have to test that one out.

J helps me plant the cutting

I took a few cuttings high up on my plants, and J helped my plant them into some pots. I used a mixture of cow manure and potting mix as the medium, and watered with a mixture of seasol and tomato fertiliser. After that they were looking a little worse for wear, but I hope they will put out roots and recover. After this photo was taken I covered the leftmost one with a plastic bag to keep the humidity up, and this evening I brought them under cover. I’ll leave them in shade until they either recover or die.

The tomato cuttings looking worse for wear

Tonight I pulled out the dying tomato plants. I experimented today with the remaining green fruit by making green tomato cupcakes, which are a bit like a apple, sultana and walnut muffin. The green tomatoes are tart like granny smith apples – it works surprisingly well! While you are checking out the recipe, have a look at the $120 food challenge blog – it’s full of great budget recipes and resources.


Update: After some advice from those in the know, I’ve lopped the side leaves off and planted them much deeper. Hopefully they won’t lose as much moisture that way, and will survive. Fingers crossed!