Tomatoes & a fishy tale...

Posted October 6th, 2013 by Rob Bob : )»

Planting out some Tom's...
The Black Russian tomato seedling had grown tall enough to plant out in the patch.. I decided to use the trenching method of planting for these guys, which is similar in theory to how they were potted up as seedlings.. The difference with this method is that the plant is laid on its side in a trench with all of the stem covered except for the top few sets of leaves.. This encourages more root growth along the length of the plant stem which is thought to help the general vigour & health of the plant ..

To start with, all but the top 3 sets of leaves are pruned from all the plants along with any blooms that have started to form..

10cm deep trenches were then dug with a 15cm deeper spot at one end for the root ball to be placed into.. A handful or 2 of worm castings were added into the trench.. If I didn't have the worm castings on hand I would have quite happily added some compost or organic fertiliser..
The plants were then laid into the trench & covered up with soil to just below the crown of the plant.. It was then covered with mulch & watered in well.. It will take no time at all for the crown of the plant to turn upwards & grow tall enough to be clipped to the training twine..
Another way you can help the plant grow more roots is to dig a deeper hole, prune the plant as above & pop it into the hole up to just below the crown.. There are some that swear by growing tomatoes this way but due to the shallow depths of wicking beds I prefer to use the trenching method..
After planting the 4 Black Russians out I decided to take 2 of them back out & place them into pots.. I realised the amount of new varieties that we have to try out would take up too much room in the beds.. There are 8 different types all up so I think 2 of each variety will get planted out to see if we want to grow them again in the future.. 5 x KY1 will still be planted out for preserving purposes..

Other Tom's in the patch...
For those that aren't aware, we have next to no luck growing standard size tomatoes (& capsicums as well) here during the warm season due to amount of fruit flies we have in the area.. For some reason we have no issues with the smaller cherry tomatoes so have been nurturing the many feral/volunteer Broad Ripple Yellow Current (BRYC) tomatoes that have popped up around the yard.. 2 of these plants in particular have been rather prolific in their fruit production & have kept us supplied with salad tomatoes for the past few months.. There is one BRYC plant that has started to produce some really large fruit at the moment..
I think the secret to the large fruit is the location of the plant.. It is growing just outside the chicken shed & has been receiving a lot of run off water from the pen which would be loaded with nutrients.. The other BRYC plant that has provided us with loads of fruit is out the front, growing in the lawn clipping compost heap..
While we have got loads of fruit from the compost plant they have only been about ½ the size of the chook shed plant..
This red cherry tomato popped up out of nowhere on the fence line with our neighbours... It has been very prolific setting loads of sweet little fruit..
Last season we grew a Black Russian tomato given to us at a council sponsored gardening talk given by Annette McFarlane.. We were "lucky" enough to miss a few of the fruit that was hidden in the vine as we now have a wonderful second generation plant that has set a load of fruit..
As this plant is outside the hoop house I will be making a mini cover to go over the top to help protect the fruit from the fruit fly..
One of the other plants we have on the go at the moment is the KY1 growing in the aquaponic set up..
Am most impressed with the amount & size of the fruit growing on this small bush variety.. Looking at the growth pattern & the compact size of this plant I think it might be more suited for use in the aquaponic grow beds.. As it is growing outside the hoop house, like the Black Russian, I will be making up a small cover to go over the top to protect the fruit in the next few days..

A start to the aquaculture set up...

Spent the weekend preparing the area for the RAS (Recirculating Aquaculture System) so that's why the blog is a little later than normal :/»
It is being set up on the top side of the aquaponic system & was hoping to squeeze it under the existing hoop house.. Unfortunately for my back, there wasn't enough room for all the fish tanks & the filter barrels under the hoop house as it was set up, so the only thing for it was to pull that section of the hoop house down & redo the whole area..
There is now enough room for all the fish tanks & filters as well as a water storage tank.. I am hoping there will be enough room as well to set up the water chestnut & kang kong bed in a bathtub.. All that is needed to finish the area off is the system itself & some 90% shade cloth to keep the fish cool..
Am hoping that between the RAS & aquaponic system we will be eating home grown Jade perch (world's richest fish source of Omega 3 & an Australian native to boot) every second week.. From memory the fish will work out costing around $20+ a kg in the first year & well under $15 a kg in the second which isn't bad for fish grown in unpolluted water.. I think it would work out even cheaper if you factor in the veggies that will help subsidise the cost of raising the fish :)»

That's about it for this week.. There are still a few small jobs on the list that didn't get finished off during the school break but as there is still a public holiday on Monday I think I might be able to cross a few more off the list...
Have a great week all,


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