Thursday, May 22, 2014

On the Farm- SUCKERS!

P.Allen Smith and I at the Pottery Fair. Photo by Martha Hartley.
Before I get to tomatoes, I thought I would share the above photo taken at the Pottery Fair on the Square last Saturday. P. Allen Smith, gardener extraordinaire, came by the show and I had a chance to talk to him about flowerpots and pesto. I also had the pleasure of taking him through the MESDA (Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts) collection on Friday.
At the farm this week there has been a lot of weeding and bed management. I also took charge of the tomato plants in the greenhouse by suckering and trimming their branches. Suckering is when you remove the growth that pops up between the "arms" of the tomato plants. Keeping one "arm" rather than two or three helps the plant not get so bushy and to give more energy to the fruit production.
Tying up the tomato plants with pantyhose
One of my grandmothers had a knack for growing tomatoes and I think my fondness for the smell of the plant and pleasure in tending to them came from watching her. We use cattle panels for our trellises, it makes for easy moving, and you can gain better access to the plants as opposed to tomato cages. I use old pantyhose and tie sections of the plants to the cattle panel.
Carnage of the tomato plants
I also remove the lower branches of the tomato plant so that there are no leaves or branches touching the soil. I think this applies much more outside, but either way it protects the plant from any bacteria in the soil that can spread to the plant. Outside, when it rains, this can be a big deal because of the leaves are low enough, the rain will bounce bacteria from the soil onto the plant. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but when I have not done this, we have had issues with blight, spot, etc., and when I have done it the plants seem healthier. There's a lot of carnage when I am done, though!
We're working really hard to get ready for the First Annual Triad Farm Tour and our own farm open house and pottery sale on the 15th of June. This means I am giving up doing an early June kiln firing, so there may be fewer hanging planters than I wanted to offer, but no shortage of pots!

1 comment:

Dennis Allen said...

Potter to the stars. Sounds good on a resume.