Welcome to my website which is about growing organic vegetable sustainably. My Garden Ecobeds use very little water and only homemade compost to maintain strong growth, and they produce lots of healthy nutritious organic food all year round. You can find out more about them on my page at http://jashxxxxxx.blogspot.com.au/p/wicking-beds-plus.html..............................................John Ashworth 27th November 2017.
Latest Update 25th August 2018.
grow 9 Tomato plants in Ecobeds, but only a couple of varieties each year because of space limitations. I always grow Tommy Toe which is an heirloom cherry style tomato and is very sweet and productive. The second one is usually changed every year, but eventually I will settle on another stalwart and stick with them both.
Tomatoes are self pollinating, but they do need help from buzz pollinators like native Australian bees or strong winds to dislodge their pollen. To be sure of a good harvest, I hand pollinate them with an electric toothbrush.
Check out my blogpage which explains how I maintain productivity in my Ecobeds. It describes
how soil is prepared prior to planting, the importance of rainwater in
Ecobeds, how to regulate the sun's intensity and how to feed plants
through their leaves.
Check out my blogpage which explains how I propagate seeds.
Check out my blogpage which tells you when to sow seeds.
Multi-sow tomato seeds in 3 clusters of 3 seeds or more in the cells of a seed tray in an EcoPropagator.
Sow enough to produce 6 individual Tommy Toe seedlings and 3 individual Grosse Lisse seedlings arranged in 3 rows, and as soon as they open up their first set of leaves transplant them all into individual cells in a seed tray.
Provide vertical support
for the tomatoes before and when they are big enough, plant them out in the prepared bed using a large dibber.
mulch to make room for each seedling and plant them 510mm apart in 5 rows about 600mm apart. Plant them deep so just the true leaves are visible, and water them in generously to increase contact with the soil and ensure there is a thick layer of mulch covering the soil.
out side shoots until there are 5 sets of tomatoes on each plant. Then nip
out the leader and any new side shoots that develop. This will maximise
the size and quality of the fruit already set.
Tomato plants don't need direct sunlight to ripen, just warmth. Stripping the
foliage reduces the food supply needed to grow the tomatoes so avoid this common practice.
I always grow a few basil companion plants next to tomatoes, and apart from deterring flying pests, their leaves make a fine condiment when tomatoes are cooked or preserved.
Harvesting and Storage.
Tomatoes should be ready for harvested by mid January.
them when they start to turn yellow before they are too attractive to birds and
other pests. If you prefer to ripen them on the vine, protect them with pest exclusion net bags.
Store tomato surpluses in preserving jars by blanching
them in boiling water for 2 minutes, cooling them rapidly in cold water and
Pack them in the jars with chopped basil leaves, salt and pepper (to taste),
and sterilise them in a pressure cooker (lowest setting) for about 5 minutes. Don't add water, they should pack down well in their own juice.
Cool slowly before removing them from the cooker. Rinse the
outside of the bottles, dry and label them.
Store them in a cool, low light room in racks until required.
are self pollinating, however the pollen grains are securely held on
the plants anthers. Moderate vibration will release this pollen and
often a strong breeze will be enough.
Bumble bees buzz pollinate tomatoes by grabbing the tomato flower and
vibrating their flight muscles vigorously. Honey bees don't use this
technique and consequently they are not very efficient tomato pollinators.
Australia where there are no bumble bees (except Tasmania), we must rely on native bees
(like the blue banded bee) or the wind. Both are unreliable in suburban
To ensure a good fruit set, buzz pollinate by hand. I do this using an electric toothbrush. See Video
Organic Pest Control.
like most vegetables, are vulnerable to attack from certain pests in my
garden. My blog on "Controlling Garden Pests" explains a
little about these pests and what to do to protect plants from them. For details click on the appropriate link below.