Friday, November 12, 2010

monologue and diatribe

Thought I would kick off with a sort of NZ Gardener gratuitous flower covershot to lure you into a false sense of security. Then in the twinkling of a new sentence I get onto my monologue, tomatoes. Welcome reader.
The question for today is, what does 'Hard to grow' mean? If it was a grade on a sewing pattern, 'difficult' it could mean welt pockets, invisible zip, fitting required, or finickity detail, but hard to grow? See, it has opened the door on a favourite peeve which is insufficient information. I like things to be spelt out in detail; like a Delia Smith recipe in fact.

Once the tomato plant puts out the first flower truss you can see where the plant is heading. For those without a magnifying glass, first frame is trifurcate, second frame bifurcate and third frame, a single, which in the tomato world is normal and going to be hands down, the most productive. The stems have split off (furcated) into two and three growing tips and I may just have to pull these plants (most of them) out. The other variant is no growing head at all. This is relatively easy, and I have already put another plant in alongside these. Once that first and only truss of fruit has grown the plant is pulled out and the piggyback plant next to it gets full space to grow.

Now the tomatoes in question are the Pink Brandywine and I would normally put any genetic problems down to the seed supplier, (still a favourite mail order catalogue) because I had the same problem with another of their tomato seeds last year. However, I now recall seeing somewhere the enigmatic 'hard to grow' and wonder if this is part of it. Surely they could get more genetic uniformity than this? I can feel a long hand-written letter in green ink coming on.

Broccolli and peas still hogging my planting space so put the remaining beefsteaks out of their crammed pots and  into sick bay to perk up a little before final planting. Hopefully there will be an aftershot soon with them looking green and radiant in their 60cm suburban blocks.

This time of year just about everything seems to germinate, so long as it doesn't get eaten before it gets a shoot above ground (beans). Here's my little markers with a selection of winter greens and whites and reds: cauliflower, broccolli, red cabbage and kale and lots more summer and autumn things too. It's that curious time of year where you seem to be planting for all seasons at once. It will be followed by that time of year when there is not enough room in the garden for all the plants you have grown!
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  1. I'm not sure about hard to grow, because everything in my garden is hard to growexcept weeds. I may have planted easy care natives, but there is no such thing as no care natives, I've discovered.

  2. The peonies brought me in quicksmart, so your evil plan worked. Thanks for the scales and the beeswax, which I minded this morning. I cleaned it with boiling vinegar water because that's what I read on the internet. It looks nice, yello, and clean and ready to be formulated into something desirable.
    I'm sorry about your misbehaving tomatoes, but was delighted to see the words bifurcate and trifurcate in every day use.