Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tomatoes - finally ripening

I decided to planted cherry tomatoes (again, with seeds from my amazing grocery store seed score) in June of this year. I started them on a sunny windowsill in a cardboard egg carton, and they grew rapidly in the sunshine. You can see them below in the second row.

Once they had their first set of true leaves, I transplanted them outside in containers. I had a big problem deciding whether or not to trim down the seedlings that had intertwined roots - I didn't want to kill any of my precious plants! I decided instead to carefully separate them by hand, and once they were in their own pots they took off. They were so big by the time that we moved to our new place that I had to stake them (in very unprofessional fashion - tomato cages were >$10 everywhere I went!).

At this point I started to notice the pretty yellow flowers growing on the tomatoes, and was so excited to finally have fruit! By the time that August had arrived, I noticed these beautiful green globes growing on the plants.

Unfortunately, they continued to be that pretty green color for a long, long time. I tried getting them the maximum amount of sun by putting them in the middle of our yard. Finally, it was mid-September when I decided to google what was going on and why my tomatoes weren't ripening. I found out that the tomatoes wouldn't ripen probably because there were maybe 15 sets of fruit on my largest plant. The poor thing was concentrating so hard on making so many tomatoes that it wasn't giving any energy to the tomatoes that were already forming. I pinched off more yellow flowers than I could count (it made me a tiny bit sad to think of the tomatoes that we lost - but they probably wouldn't have been ready before the cold weather set in anyway). I also withheld water from the plant, a trick that I heard "convinces the plants that they're dying and should start to ripen their fruit". Finally, I started to see ripe tomatoes! See the progression below.


Now, we're swimming in ripe tomatoes! Just kidding - that's quite an overstatement. But really I think I've harvested up to 50 little cherry tomatoes off of two plants, and the two smaller ones are coming along just behind. I tried the first one with some mozzarella cheese, Himalayan sea salt, and purple basil from my herb teacup.

In other tomato news, I decided to harvest some seeds from heirloom tomatoes from my CSA box. We'll see how they turn out next year!

1 comment:

Lainiepoohead said...

Yay the tomatoes look so cute!