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Basic information for success at your home or farm. In this class you will learn how to avoid some of the common pitfalls that lead to blossom end rot, cracking and other common issues. Learn how to have the sweetest tasting fruit ever!

Presenter

Darren Greenfield

Weimar Farm Manager

Conference

Recorded

  • January 19, 2018
    10:45 AM

Series

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To Father in heaven we have very grateful to be here and to be learning how we can work with you and growing crops in just learning about how amazing you are to provide for us and in the way of. Cooperating with our efforts and causing the plants to grow and giving us a wonderful harvest The brings joy to thank you Father for the pleasure that you give us and we pray that is we spend this time together in this class that it will be beneficial I pray that you will help me to communicate effectively and thank you for being with us in Jesus' name mean. OK this is a class on growing tomatoes it's only a one hour class these probably we could be here for several days to go through all the intricacies of growing tomatoes I'm not an expert in growing tomatoes I've been growing them for commercially for six years what I'm sharing with you today is from my experience I haven't gone and researched all the textbooks and pulled out all the information to try to share with you and impress you with the knowledge that I have a money sharing with you what I have experienced myself I wish othar was up here teaching because he has a much greater knowledge growing especially in greenhouses but they asked me to do the class so I will share with you what God has told me and first of all I want to say that. I'm not a big reader so I don't go and do a lot of research I learn much from going and talking to people observations seeing what they are doing and learning from them and so I read when I'm stuck and I pray and I find that God is the best instructor he's promised and I saw at twenty eight that he will give us wisdom and wisdom comes from experience and then using that experience and knowledge and applying it in a wise way so sometimes we make mistakes and we have failures and that's part of learning wisdom so you think well I learned all this information then you go and you try and it doesn't work well God is still in the process of teaching you. So tomatoes a fun crop to grow one of my favorites. And we grow quite a quite a lot for a small farm we grow many varieties and we're situated in California in the foothills twenty three hundred foot elevation facing towards South. And we grow on terraces where we. Don't have the ideal soil but God has blessed and we've had amazing results and I may had some not so good results some years as well but it's all part of the learning process and you have a whole nother year to wait to implement the changes that you know you need to make I'm sorry the chord here is very short so if I move this way I'm blocking someone else but I will yes. OK sorry I did not see the mike we will use let's lose that. Maybe that will help I don't have as a loud voice there we go so growing tomatoes please save your questions out till the end of the presentation we've been asked that because the quality recording is is handed. This in so I'll try to save some time but I've got a lot to go through and. There is a going to be a round table for discussion that includes this class I'm not sure if there is but I will stay afterwards if you have questions if we in time is up. So I always like to research Spirit of Prophecy to try and see if there's any information because I believe our best source to learn from is the inspired source and I found this and it's not necessarily inspired as far as what is told about how to grow but it was interesting to me that in the fourth volume of the biography on Ellen White that says the god in is the exercise ground for my work is she's talking about her secretaries the literary assistance that she head and she says it only in light the girls are at work in the God and when they are off duty it is better for them and more satisfactory than any exercise they can have. And then this other statement same volume page twenty seven Sorry to seventy one I could not persuade Marion to ride could not get a free from her writings but now she has interest awakened and I have no fears but that she will get out. And work in the god of this god of flowers is a great placing to my girls and they are working with the tomato raising planting and caring for the tomatoes and so if you read much about. Gathering experiences and farming experiences you will find that she had extensive crops I mean not just a little few raised beds but extensive crops and she was very active hisself and going out early in the morning and working in the God and and she encouraged to work as and she encouraged all of us if you read her counsel to get out and get involved in the garden so where do we stop when we're growing tomatoes we have to stop with seed and we could talk quite a bit about C. I will say this about seed these good seed a not so good seed and. Tomato seed is a very hardy seed So for example when I was going to school. And I was in high school the school got some sludge from the sewage ponds for the city they have these big huge ponds and all the sludge goes to the bottom and sits there for I don't know how long quite a few years and then they dredge it and bring it up and draw it and it's completely broken down and decompose and then they give it away for free people would come and get truckloads and take it and use it in the gardens and so forth so it was used in the school got ins and all of a sudden what grow grew out of it tomatoes nothing else no we'd nothing at no other plant just tomatoes and it's really struck me the Hodding this of tomato seeds now most seeds of viable when you buy a packet of seeds it has the percentage of germination right they've tasted it and they might take one hundred seeds and eighty seven of them germinate and so they'll put eighty seven percent germination right on the on the packet and. So usually for two years on most seeds that is true but as you get as a seed gets all of that percentage drops and becomes less and less infected drops fairly quickly on some seed but with tomatoes typically for five years it will stay pretty true to that percentage right because there's a very high seed so what I will mention about getting your source of seed for tomatoes is that or for any of you or even for home gardening if you are just a home gardener if you go to a good catalog like Johnny saw one of these commercial catalogs rather than going to a god in store where they have these little packets and that's all they have the quality of seed is much better when they sell it for commercial purposes then for the home use and it's apparently when they collect the seed and they weigh it. The heaviest seed is the better quality seed and so that is sold for commercial use and the lightest seed is sold for home gardens and so you don't get the best quality seed typically for when you buy it in those little packets of the gun still. So when you're looking for seed look at a good quality catalogue and we buy a lot of our seed from Johnny's we've found them to be pretty good but not always we sometimes find a seed is. Faulty. But they will refund you if it is but sometimes you planted it and it doesn't come up and you lose time. That you can choose that have qualities such as disease resistance cracking resistance there are hundreds of varieties of tomatoes I mean it's just there's an amazing selection out there and so I'm not going to talk. During this time about the different varieties I will talk about two different kinds or two different groups of tomatoes. But you can find all different qualities and if you know there's a certain disease that you know is common in your area or if you're in the. Midwest of the eastern states where there's a lot of Ranger in the some a season's you're going to have blight and so forth so you might want to be looking for resistant varieties that will help you with. Issues. So these two types of tomato plants determine it and sometimes called a bush. Bush tomato and then there's the indeterminant. And the indeterminate Well let's talk first about the determinant Why would you choose a determinant over a indeterminate type of tomato the determinants are a short season tomato. They can be grown in containers they don't grow tall they they usually short. Some of them that we've grown have gone about shoulder height but typically they are about three feet tall or even sometimes a little less than three feet tall. If you are growing commercially and you want to target the early market and you want to lot of fruit for that early market. Determine it is a very good variety you get ones that usually the package will tell you how many days to to harvest on it so you try to get a variety that has the qualities you're looking for and the shortest number of days if you're targeting the early market and there's minimal work required because you're not having to do much pruning and in fact you can get away with doing no pruning with them you just let them grow as a bush and they will sit a lot of fruit all at once and typically you'll get a really big harvest within about a month or a little bit more than a month and then it's done and actually we grow these are now high tunnel for the early market we can get them started about six weeks earlier than the outdoor ones and so we get the best price before all the outdoor ones come on and the what I have discovered in this is turned out to be a tremendous place of growing them in the high tunnel we harvest them and we sell them for their daily market and these basically we can sell all that we can grow in that green and that little well three thousand foot. High tunnel and then the plants just sit there and I don't pull them out I'm too busy harvesting of the crop so I just leave them the and then they stay there and they might be if you know the odd little bit of fruit that comes off them but then. In the whole as the temperatures start dropping in September they stop flowering and I set another crop and then because they're under plastic then in the fall I have another harvest not as big as the one in the in the spring but early summer but it's it's actually really a blessing because then you can go back and harvest them when everything outdoors is starting to slow down and and. So there is a benefit to using the templates if you want to target certain seasons. The. The determine it the way it works and grows the terminal buds sit fruit and stop steam growth so they just somehow they abort the growing habit of the plant and the plant a self topping and they say that you came grow them without staking my experiences mean you need to state them and we're going to talk about methods of staking them that is really effective for these and you don't need to prune the the side churches later and grow you could if you want to if you want biggest size fruit you can prune. But we don't we just let them grow and you get these big classed as lots and lots of fruit all at once so why would you choose an indeterminant tomato Well it's to provide a long harvest the indeterminant will continue growing for a long period of time in fact they'll continue growing until the frost comes and kills them and in a in a protected environment inside a greenhouse like what Arthur is doing. At the operation that he manages they keep them going all through the winter and they can through the air because the in the two minutes can go actually for several years if you have the right temperature. So when you choosing between a determine an indeterminate if you want to grow heirlooms you're not going to find the Timonen aliens they just not there so you if you're trying to grow an alien you going to choose automatically an indeterminate and. You will have a high yield often indeterminate because it it's harvesting over an extended period of time so you you can be harvesting for out situation out to across we pretty much stop by July. Early July may be casually it'll come in late June and we'll harvest all the way through into October. And they just keep producing. So indeterminant for a long list now grown produce fruit into killed by frost they can reach heights of twelve feet or more in fact I've heard that inside the greenhouse growing systems they can grow forty feet and the way they manage that because you can never reach up there and you have to have a pretty tall ladder to reach forty feet so they have them hanging on these water and hooks and string that they keep lowering the plants and they strip the leaves off the lower part of them and so when the plant gets to a certain height they strip the leaves off let some string down and the plant just beans down and keeps growing up and they just keep managing and so by the end of the season when they were ready to rip those plants out you'll see the plant they say at the pole or in the the actual roots in the ground are going to be right down the other end of the row because they just lying down and they keep lowering and it keeps moving down the row and it's quite interesting to see that system. So in the term that's will bloom six new fruit and ripen fruit all at the same time throughout the season and what amazes me is you know we're still harvesting right into November they're not typically when the temperatures drop down they stop sitting fruit but the fruit that's they can take six weeks to from fruit say to harvest in so in October they still sitting fruit and that fruit continues to grow even though the temperature is dropping they're growing slower and Nia we actually using product called Maxi crop it's a seaweed extract and when you spray the the leaves as a folia spray when the temperatures are dropping you know it's going to be a little bit of a frost it actually hardens the plants by maybe three or perhaps four degrees it can actually take a lot frost and the plant will not die so we've had actually extended our season and we've had the plants alive in January outdoors in California where we normally you know some years will get a hard frost in November but that particular year it didn't come and we just every time it looked like it was dipping spry him with some Mexico up and they kept going didn't get much production off them because it was too cold but they were still alive in January. So there's a picture you can see the flowers and you can see this these the cherry tomatoes this last year we grew a lot of cherry tomatoes and they just just absolutely covered and flowers and we had such an incredible crop this is a picture of a tomato tree it's an indeterminant one it's actually a real one it's not a fake picture it was at the same tour of Disney World at parity they sold the seed from from China and this particular indeterminate produced eleven hundred fifty pounds one hundred fifty one pounds of tomatoes in one calendar year and it was in a protected environment. And it produced thirty two thousand individual fruits. And credible what what it's about a plant can do. Let's talk about the temperature for germination So when you stop your seeds and you going to grow you seedlings. Has a chop that has the take up the temperature ranges and how many days it takes for the seed to germinate so we're just going to. Zero in on tomatoes here and tomatoes. You can see if you go over to the orange column in the highlighted gray area there is six days at seventy seven degrees that's the optimum temperature for a short germination if it's sixty eight degrees it's eight days it's fifty nine degrees it's actually fourteen days and if it's fifty degrees it's forty three days so you want to a lot of people want to get started early and they want to stop them and as soon as it's warm enough in the first frost of the danger of the story that the last frost has passed they want to get them in the ground right away to get them growing so that means you've got to stop them growing your seedlings when it's quite cold so we'll talk about the methods of getting them started early so I learned this from Sun isn't a family farms they were using germination chambers basically old refrigerators and freezers and putting a little tiny space heater in the bottom with a thermostatically controlled you can buy them you can just plug into them and set the temperature or whatever you want in the probe is inside and as soon as the temperature hits that it turns off and seems that drops below it it tunes on so it'll keep a constant temperature so you can seat out you're tries put them in the air and I actually took I don't have a picture of our one but I took one of these vertical freezes and I added extra shelves in between because the the shelves were about a foot a pot and you know you see trays are only four inches or so I put an extra layer of shelves in between so I can actually have according to the cells I can have two thousand cells in one freezer Junaid. Yes So basically to go over that again you take an old freezer and it's Corelli got some shelving in it and you can add extra shelving to it if you want because you seed trace your pots that you're using They usually six packs so they can be you know the commercial ones can be seventy two or fifty count trays and you put your potting mix in there and you seed it and you will water it you put it into the germination chamber it's got a little heater at the bottom a little space heater it's got a thermostatically controlled. Unit that you plug it into which a probe goes inside you shut the door and it will keep it at that temperature that you set it at so the optimum temperature for germinating the tomato seed is around seventy seven degrees seventy five around the it's going to be about the same and you can have that and night time the temperatures drop down but it will stay right through the night and even though the seed packet might tell you that it's seven days or ten days to germination you will cut that even down last because it's constant temperature through the night so we found that tomatoes take a little bit longer than some of the others but a lot of seed you've got to be watching them by the second day because definitely by the third day they're breaking through and you want to get them out of there immediately when they break through the soil because if they left and they without light as soon as they come out of the soil they're looking for light and they'll grow spend Lee and yellow and by the time you pull them out they'll just fall over and dogged by some times of that if you if there are any of you know that high they might survive but they might be a bit sickly so you might check them three times a day so first thing the morning come on look in the name come through or go back before lunch open the door OK this done to break out I'll pull them out and then I'll put them you know on the tables to grow and so you've got to keep an eye on them if you negligent you'll lose them so the advantage of having the shortness of time you'll lose that but anyway this works very effectively. Another way you can do it if your home grower is using heating Mantz these are readily available you can set the temperature in your. Cells of seedlings can be there on the heating mate in germinate quickly the same way by keeping a constant heat so you are. One of the things that I find most effective for getting strong plants because when you growing commercially you really want to have strong vigorous healthy plants that produce a lot and when you get a seed packet you've got some seed that's really good and you've got some See that's that maybe not quite mature and it's never going to grow up into a strong highly productive plant so if you get just a flat tray of potting soil and I don't buy seed raising soil that's really fine I use just right you know potting mix that we actually make ourselves from coconut core and other ingredients that we change it off to the lab had it analyzed and got all the different nutrients that is ideal for plants. You know what the recommendations were and we mix that up and then in a tray if you make a little lines with your finger and then sprinkle the seed in those lines and then cover it up water it you'll get this thick row of tomatoes breaking through and and then you can see the really strong ones coming up and you'll see the ones that a little bit slower in coming out so when then you can do what's called pricking out you just these tomatoes are really hard you can just grab with your fingers or you can use a little knife or something to just kind of leverage their. Roots out and you take the real strong ones and then put them into your cells that you want to grow into your seedlings and leave the weaker ones and don't use them and then you get the maximum crop from doing that the tomato plant is has what's called Pugh basement. Lines and if you look at the stains on them they were hairy and those here e steams Actually if they come in contact with soil put root SAP I don't know if you've if you've experienced that and so you can plant your plants deep when you put your transplants in the ground and. That stem that you've planted under the soil will put out more roots and you'll have a stronger root system soon because you planted it down and then you see the little chute coming out the side sometimes called a bad habit and you prune them off because you want to vertical vine so you can stop plants when those get up you know like this and have a few true leaves on them that you know that are developing you can actually break those off and put them in soil and now grown to plants but you'd have to first have a plant growing to do that so it would come on later in the season if you're. Wanting to kind of clone that plant. So when you get your seedlings grown up. And you're ready to train supply and. They. Are. Well let me go backwards I want to first talk a bit before we plant let's talk about soil fertility for tomatoes. One of the best things we ever did. Was to have soil to and then follow the recommendations we first started out with Kinzie labs and Kinsey you can go to Kinsey egg dot or dot com and they have information there if you want to go with an admin a sky that you can get really quick access and consultation from McConnell He's here at the conference he works with Kinsey he's one of a consultant so he can actually give you his form that you fill out when you see soil. Sample into them and they send it to Perry labs get it back and then seeing the results straight to him and then he calculates all the recommendations and why I go with him is because I can email him or call him and I get an immediate answer with Kenzie if you e-mail you probably want and he wants that I get a immediate response and if you need to talk to him it's like two or three hundred dollars now I can't remember to consult with them but. Is available and you can e-mail talk to him if you have questions. OK he has a table in the booth area so. This was the best thing we did because you know if you're just putting on calm possed And you doing all these other methods that are commonly done you get some results but it's really you working in the doc you don't know what you've got in your soil and tomatoes can be heavy feet is all nitrogen heavy feed is on potassium and you need to have the right amount there for them to be highly productive Otherwise it can really affect your final production so on the screen the you can see a sample of the recommendations that come after Whitman has done the calculations and you just follow them and broadcast that on the ground and work it into the soil and then you're ready to plant. After an addition to the recommendations that he gives We always apply this scene ninety the ocean minerals you can buy it it's in a D. hydrated form it looks like a coarse salt It's dehydrated straight from the ocean in Southern. California Mexico and so it's not being ice that the sodium hasn't been isolated like if you buy sea salt that you use for the table it might have come from the sea but they've isolated the sodium out of the ocean minerals and it's very interesting that the ocean minerals when they have when they're in the course. Form they can be in a bag and open a bag or in a tub you know we get a minimum one tonne total something like that and it's it's it's the end it's just constantly absorbing moisture out of the air and dripping on the ground it's got it's really unusual it must be the interaction of the minerals with the the atmosphere but these ocean minerals provide trysts minerals now just a word of caution if you live in Arizona or any of these arid low rainfall areas probably your sodium levels are going to be high and you may not be able to use it so your soil test going back to the soil taste there is a sodium. Road the call I'm sorry row where you can actually see what it what you sodium levels are and you can actually say to talk to what Mara feeds you consult and say how much C ninety can I apply safely and he'll tell you and you can go and apply that and so this really enhances the health of the plants it enhances your health when you eat them the flavor is much. Much better and your customers will love your sales will go up and it's well with supplying the senior ninety I won't say more but there is less. How egg sometimes does a whole hour class talking about C. ninety K. you can see the major nutrient uptake of tomatoes and you can see here that they peak around. Week eight these. In particular you'll see the dotted line for nitrogen it doesn't necessarily peak at week but it's maximize that or. About week five or six through to about teen has a high consumption of nitrogen the potassium peaks the air and so what we actually do. Is we'll fertilize the in addition to what we put in the soil we do a weekly or bi weekly fertilizer through the drip system. To supply the additional needs of the plant of nitrogen and potassium and then by the time I get to about wheat twelve I stop putting it through I could keep feeding it to him but the results doesn't really justify the cost of doing it for me and so I stop around that time and and the plants continue to produce so that for us is usually around early to mid August and then from mid early to mid August through to about like I mentioned before mid October even into November we're still harvesting what we do notice is the fruit size gets smaller because the potassium influences the size of the fruit so if you want a good sized fruit you have to make sure you've got sufficient potassium and you soil and. So we feed this is the what the recommendations from were for The Weekly. Feeding of nitrogen in potassium through the drip system and it's based on a thousand square feet so whatever area that you're growing you have to you know adjusted accordingly the rights but there's a planting of first fruits it and then there's a fruit state to first harvest and then if the first harvest through last harvest well as I mentioned we don't do to the last harvest because it's not cost effective we use a nitrogen source that comes from growth secret it's actually a soybean based nitrogen that comes out of Europe it's a non G.M.O. so we being one it's very expensive it's. Cos we buy it in fifty pound bags and it probably costs about we get it at a lower right than Then if you're buying just a bag at a time a bag at a time it takes about three hundred dollars we get it for about two hundred dollars and so it's expensive but you get really good results and so it's worth it for us on a commercial scale to be using it and then the potassium sulfite I didn't put a picture in here but it's called some what's called sulphate of potash and you want to soluble one and I think Diamond is the brain and it's a white kind of powder looking very heavy and you just mix it into water solution and then you can use an injector you can use a cheap version of an injector as a mozzie. You can put in line on your manifold and feed the these through or you can buy We have a dosa Tron for our greenhouses that works very well. And we just follow exactly the prescription I'm no expert in soil science and I just follow the recommendation of who is spent many many years studying this so here you can see in this chopped the over the period of the well this is based on the tonnage of tomatoes so for one ton of tomatoes seven point two pounds of potassium is used to produce that one ton of tomatoes nitrogen five point four and you can see phosphorus only one pound and calcium money four pounds and make me Z one point two So you see how important potassium is to your soil fertility. So I want to talk now about the benefits of using plastic mulch when you're planting out we have few years we were just planting straight in the soil the using a drip type for irrigation and we were getting good results and thin. We had to do a bit of weeding but that's just all part of the job and finally I got around to using plastic mulch and I will never go back well when I say me of a I should never say never but by choice I will never go back to growing without plastic mulch when you use plastic mulch. It's not just for weed suppression and reducing your weeding time what actually happens is and we're in a very dry climate in California we have five months of no rain which is wonderful for weed control because once the moisture is out of the soil in between your rows you don't weeding in between your rows and the plastic mulch typically will cover an area that we use a full foot one and by the time the soil covers the ages you've got about three foot wide with pretty close to three foot wide plastic mulch in a row and we plant directly into the plastic mulch what happens is that when you are watering without the mulch the drip line will soak an area and it pretty much goes straight down and a lot of the surface waters of back write it off during the heat of the day and with the plastic mulch So what will let me back up that the roots when they're growing will grow in the moist area they're not going to grow into the draw area of soil when you cover that with the area three feet. Nearly full feet on the plastic that stops the evaporation of the Warda and. Even though I've got a single irrigation drip type going through the air the works out to the ages of the plastic and it. That moisture four foot wide and all that topsoil that you've got there in that zone in the roots just grow out into that zone and take up more nutrients so the plants just grow much more vigorously the healthy a lavish and they just it's amazing in the production is much higher using the plastic mulch so I highly recommend if you're commercial growing even at home it's easy to use. So you have moisture retain ssion healthier plants and a high yield to using plastic mulch and there's a picture you can see the plants are still pretty small and the plastic mulch is laid there on how terraces mazing can you do you might holding your questions to the end and then all of them just for the sake of getting through it in we can see that so plastic mulch. Very good so root that we use a root dip for transplanting and this is something that I didn't learn this from anybody I just basically used logic and this works very very well. And when I say use logic I I believe God impressed me with this because I claim that promise just about every day when I'm growing that God gives the family wisdom and I ask him for wisdom and I believe that he has over and over again impressed upon me things that I haven't read about I haven't been taught and been all read about it or I'll go to a class and I learn that that's the best way to do it and so what we use in this route dip we actually. We use a fifty count try for growing out tomato seedlings and will submit the whole. Soil in root zone into this root pulled out and then as we transponding we put it in so what I find most effective is slightly strace the plant before you going to plant so what that means is instead of doing your regular watering that you do on a daily or sometimes if you're in a hot area you might do it more than once a day. Just. Leave off the last watering so that the plant is thirsty the plant is ready for a drink it's not wilting it's not showing strace visibly but it is hung. In so it's really to take a drink and then in our root dip we use soluble nitrogen the growth secret twelve zero zero So I'm I'm using just a rubbermaid tote that just a short one and will fill it up to maybe four inches of water and I'll put in may be generous teaspoon of the. Twelve zero zero gross secret the we use the maxi crop it's a seaweed extract that's in a solvable form and I put about the same amount of that and then about the same amount of a Mike market highs a fundy It's a powder form. And I mix it up in the in the water and then submissive the the roots in the air and then as we transplant them out you're inoculating the soil with the mica High's a fundie and the seaweed extract is a rooting stimulant it has a rooting hormone compound in the air and so the roots will vigorously grow as a result of that being there in the nitrogen is the energy that gets you know growth going so as a result of using this group tip if you're done much in the way of God and you usually experience that when you transplant your plants out they get transplant shock and they look really sad and wilted and they sometimes can take a week before they stop picking up and start growing using this this dip there's no I have no transplant shock they go on the ground and they grow immediately they just it's amazing so it's a very very effective way so I use about in so rubbermaid tote I can't tell you what the dimensions are but roughly the Sloan by about this wide and it has four inches of. Water and I put about a teaspoon of twelve zero zero teaspoon of ungenerous teaspoon not a flat teaspoon. And the seaweed extract makes a crop in a teaspoon of a padded form of mica High's a Fundy and. So what does Michael has a do it attaches to the plants roots and it extends the reach of the roots and creases the uptake of nutrients for the plant it. Helps the plant to deal with strace if there's not enough water to it there are many benefits I won't go into it now but. It's a really beneficial microorganisms that work symbiotically with the plant and when you wrote to tell your soil you're killing What's the air if there was any you'll find it plentiful in the in the forest where the soil is not the if you have wood chips on the ground and you turn them over in the white underneath that smock a high is a that's the fun it's a form these many different forms of it there's a so and when I want to go into it for the sake of time so planting depth when you plant I mean before that the plants have pubis and vines and you can plant them deep so if you transplant above the soil is eight inches high I will plant half of that under the ground and just in that part of the vine that is on the ground will. Produce roots. With or in contact with the soil so tomatoes support when you've planted them and you want to give them support a very efficient way of supporting them and cost effective is what's referred to as steak and weave and I found as I looked online for some pictures to illustrate it so that it's may have originated in Florida and so some of them refer to it as a Florida we've And so effectively what it is is a wooden stake the ones we're using IRA. We've used two inch by two inch wooden stakes with chopping on the end. For a determent plant you probably only one about maybe four or five foot high stakes you can use T. posts if you're in a small scale and you can afford them or you've got them already. But if you're going to use them for indeterminant you probably want to save on the right foot high ones because you can drive them in the ground at least twelve inches maybe more. In the eyes indeterminant soon to grow up to six or more fact allen screw up to the top and then they grew. They went some of them all the way back down to the ground and by the end of the season but so you put these and you can put them in for the stakes and between every plant every second or every third we do it every third it seems to be strong the stakes seem to work well and sometimes with the teapot because they they are stronger than would I put them in every fourth plant and that works and then you can see the topical view the. Illustration that you talk to a string around and then go one side of the plant and you do the same on the other side and so you basically encapsulating the plant in between strings and we start off at about eight inches above the ground in another eight inches and just keep going at that spacing as the plants continue to grow and it's sufficient you want to do it before plants going to fall over and. I wish I could demonstrate how you do it you can do it with your hand we first started doing that and then Alan came in visit and sit all is a better way of doing it and he showed us with a little piece of plastic P.V.C. pipe that you thread the string through maybe a half and sure could do it with three quarter inch pipe and so you hold the end of it you don't have to bend down so far and you can go around and kind of put a little bit of leverage on it you use your left hand to keep tension on it and you go around and you can do it without having to bean down and we have you know thousands of feet of them so save your back raining down and then when it gets up high it's easy to reach up I don't I wish I had a video of it and could show you but hey you can see the plants are about a third of the way to the full height. They have just been weaved between the strings that see this this one close up you can see the strings you can see the vines of the plant in between the strings and we do actually prune or try to if we have enough time the lowest side shoots because the growing habit of the plant you've got leaves and then in between the leaf and the main stream there comes out a side shoot and so the plant keeps pushing out so the low ones if you don't break those all you get a lot of branches wanting to grow out on the ground and you going to step on them they're going to be in the way and once the vines are growing and fill up between this the strings that's but hot and you can damage your fruit by trying to tuck them back in so the low ones you know maybe up to twelve inches high. It's been official to prune the side shoots and so that when they do start spreading out it's where they are between the strings and it's easy to contain them. So let's talk about flower pollination this is an important one because the flowers sometimes you can have issue with getting fruit sit and we found that especially when we stopped in the green and of the plastic getting fruit sit sometimes you waiting and waiting it's not happening and these reasons for that so the flowers of a tomato plant a pollinated by bumble bees or wild bees not honey bees and the reason for that is that it takes a certain vibration. Inside the flower when the bee comes in a certain frequency that the honey bees don't know how to do and so the bumble bees and wild bees know how to do it and then they can get their mixer out of the flower and so if that is if they are not around the in. Pollination in a commercial greenhouse they will actually put a bumble bee nest you can buy them for commercial purposes they place them in the greenhouse and the bumble bees fly around doing the job of pollination pollination happens within a given temperature range and I'll show you. More information about that so when we starting early in the in the high tunnel there can be a lot of flowers on the plants and nothing's happening and they'll actually the fruit not the fruit but the flowers you'll start seeing them wilting in and dying and there's no fruit sitting you thinking why well you can actually out officially. Pollinate by tapping them or even going through with a leaf blower and blowing them in it and it vibrates and it gets a bit of pollination but it's not the best way if you do do that you actually can pollinate immature of ones that are not quite ready and what I found is you actually get a whole bunch of really tiny little fruits and they don't they don't grow to full size because they were pollinated too young. So but the temperature actually. Has to be above fifty five for them to pollinate So let me read this tomato plants drop the flowers under extreme temperature regimes such as high daytime temperatures above eighty five degrees high nighttime temperatures above seventy degrees below nighttime temperatures below fifty five optimal growing conditions for tomatoes daytime temperatures between seventy degrees Fahrenheit and eighty five degrees Fahrenheit while tomato plants can tolerate more extreme temperatures for short periods several days or nights with temperatures outside the optimal range will cause the plant to abort flowers and fruit and focus on survival. Temperatures over one hundred forty degrees sorry hundred four degrees for only four hours can cause the flour to abort if nighttime temperatures fall below fifty five will rise above seventy or of daytime temperatures rise above eighty five the pollen becomes techie and non-viable preventing pollination from occurring and causing the blossom to dry and drop So temperature is really really vital some other influences can be excessive nitrogen can cause your flowers to become non-viable in to drop and not enough can also be an issue that's why following the soil recommendations is so vital we don't have to worry about it. I can't emphasize enough if you put what's needed for the plant in the soil and look after that you don't have to become an expert in all these different conditions that come about people ask me questions about this disease and all that I don't know anything about how it because of the soil makes healthy plants when you follow the right recommendations and do. Supply what is needed so this is the process of the flower that you have the flower development the flower opens and when it's fully open and you see the. Petals I guess the petals open like that then they're ready to pollinate and then you get fruit sit and then and you'll see a little wee little bowl green bowl in the. Right there in the cradle of the Calyx in the tomato starts growing into maturity now. Blossom is very common and we unfortunately have had our fair share of blossoming drop. And it's very disheartening to lose a lot of valuable tomatoes to blossom in drought and it's very preventable the common word out there is that it's a calcium deficiency which it is it's caused by calcium deficiency at the at the time all fruit see it when the flower is just forming its first little fruit but it's not because that necessarily that there's not calcium in the soil what it is actually cause from is not sufficient water now tomatoes are very hardy plant and they don't show stray like. That they are needing water until just when they start wilting and they have very seriously the hydrated. But they can be deficient in water and look very healthy and happy and you would never guess and you can even dig around on the surface of the water of the soil and it's very moist and you can be doing doing a daily watering we were watering every day and thinking we're giving them all they need and in them in the heat of the summer or even in the early summer and we're still getting blossom in Iraq so what I learned in this came from U.C. Davis corporate extension office advisor was that tomatoes needed deep watering deep watering Why is that the roots of tomatoes can go down eight feet if the soil allows them and so they have a very. Deep root. In the summer time as the soil dries out you might be watering the surface but deep down it's dry it's really dry and the plant is not taking up the calcium because the roots can't take it up without moisture. So what do we do these an instrument called a teensy Omega in this. Says a device for measuring the amount of moisture in the soil the tension that is created through the roots drawing the moisture and then as the soil dries out these are these a ceramic tip on the end of this instrument and it starts the moisture starts going through that ceramic is the soil dries out and it's the roots. Sucking it up and it creates a vacuum and that gauge in the needle goes up and you can actually measure it and you know when to turn the water on and you know when to turn it off and there is an ant tronic version of it it's more expensive that you can put these little probes in the ground one deeper than the other Here's a picture of the gauge of the vacuum gauge and depending on the soil type. When you would turn the water on what we have a clay soil so when the gauge gets up to fifty we turn water on and when it drops down to zero we turn it off because the water is the soil is saturated it is recommended that you use to use a shallow one and a deep one and so the shallow one when the shallow one starts showing that it's getting up to fifty and in the moisture is getting low so that might be it's at the level of six inches under the soil then we'll turn the water on the deep one might show that it's still at thirty and it's still got more but we want to turn the water off until that one shows zero and and it said straight at that depth of. Eighteen inches can work or you can even go they recommend going to a three foot one. So these instruments have really turned around our problem with both blossoming and cracking because cracking is also caused from. You have insufficient water and then too much water in the fruit has a burst of growth when it gets more water. And then it cracks because the skin can't grow and stretch as fast as the inside is growing so if you're growing commercially these will pay for themselves over and over and over again in one season. They're expensive I think the the mechanical one is about starting around eighty dollars plus the shipping to get it the electronic one with a couple of the electronic probes it's about I think two hundred thirty or roughly around two. Plus shipping so. They're very very effective and highly recommended you can use them on any crops you can use them in your orchard they are. An excellent tool to be using. So. Well what time do we finish is it limb forty five I think it is so I'm not going to get into the side of things so much but one of the probably the most common pass that you will come across is the. Is the tomato on whim. It's actually this think small Caterpillar and they get on to your plant and they'll start eating leaves and they'll eat into your fruit the green fruit and you'll see the evidence of where they mean because you see they poop in little little black deposits on the leaves that struck down on to and sometimes they can do a lot of damage. We typically don't have a whole lot of them but when we find them we put them on the ground and you squash them a little bit hard to squash in there but yucky to squash but that's one effect of way the girls start like doing it because they so cute but anyway you need to do it. If you have a real serious issue you might want to spray a BT or respond to said spray so this is a picture of the damage that they do and you can see the little black droppings on the leaves the days the life cycle of the small things and so you might find them at the pupa stage you might find a few of them lying around and you've got if you do smash them and prevent the mouth from hatching and producing it's in producing a. Lover and and a caterpillar that's going to basically go through and do the damage so harvesting is storage. Depending on the type that you are growing different ways of harvesting. If you are growing. Cherry tomatoes and we grew a lot of them for the last couple of years we use a pouch bag it's not an orchard bag the orchard bags a bigger and hold volume it's actually one that we get from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply It's called A I think it's a root bag or something like that it's got a picture of a kangaroo and it's a pouch that sits you know right here and you can pick with two hands that are free and straight into the bag when we picking and we selling we we leave the calyx on the fruit of it stays on the it's a hassle to try to break the calyx off some varieties they break off easily and some they don't and if you do try it on the ones that don't you usually calls are splitting in they they damage and go rotten quickly so. One of those bags works really well for cherry tomatoes and Romas and the reason why with the what Romans with the Romas. They typically will the calyx will break right off when you picking them you just give them a little twist and you can pile them in and they don't get damaged going into a bag piling up and then you can gently drop them into whatever we use these yellow plastic. Bins or boxes or whatever you call them and you can just Jianli dump them in the and you can harvest them very efficiently if you would have a sting slice of tomatoes or heirloom especially have a thin skin you've got to be really gentle and really careful the calyx has a little knuckle above it and you can grab it and with your thumb on that Calyx give it a twist and typically not always the bright consent very easily right at that knuckle some varieties don't let it go very easy so you want to have some snips and just go and snip them and then you need to have your we just put them straight into the. Boxes that we're going to sell them. With in the in just place them in the stack them single and the reason why you want to do single layer is if you stop putting a second layer on there the game of the calyx will puncture the skin of the next layer and then it's no longer. Able to be sold. As a first it will be a second then because it goes rotten with the skin has been pierced and your stalls are where are you selling them they won't be happy. If you're storing the tomatoes the ideal temperature is around fifty five degrees and they will stall for a long time we have a refrigerated shipping container and we store a lot of things in the area and because tomatoes like fifty five and cucumbers would prefer to be down near forty or even lower than forty. Then I will compromise halfway between and it will stall them both and will be a little bit colder than that the problem with refrigerating tomatoes is that they lose they fly EVA when they called and said they betta to be outside but if you need to hold them for a day or two before you deliver them or sell them you need to keep the medical temperature to. Keep them fresh you can if you have a root cellar you can put them in a root cellar because under this under the ground it stays pretty much fifty five degrees year round that's the natural temperature deeper down. Packaging this is the last slide that I have. I have found with tomatoes the we grow a lot of the slices which is typically a three inch diameter. Tomato and they will take maybe slightly smaller down to maybe a two and a half but I like them to be around the three inch size and then that the plants often will produce smaller ones than that and so I have not been able to successfully sell them in bulk to any retail outlet they don't want the small ones the customers just screwed and I was up and want one by them but if you put them in a nice little one pound clamshell and week we call them cocktail tomatoes they look pretty in nice and I sell really well so we were able to get rid of the ones that for a year also we didn't know what to do with we were giving them a why we couldn't sell them but packaging makes a huge difference I don't like to use plastic but I don't want to throw them away so that's one way and hopefully your customers are responsible and recycling and not putting them into a landfill. OK that is it. Time is Ira and I will have a word of prayer but I'll stay by if you want to ask any questions but let's close with Korea the Father in heaven thank you so much for giving us this time to just discuss an overview of how to grow tomatoes thank you for the experience that you've given me I don't know all the different things that everybody needs to know for their growing conditions but I pray that you will teach each one through the wisdom that you promised to give and that each year they will get better and better and I would be conditions and and be successful and have a lot of happiness that comes from this thank you Father in Jesus name I pray. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about you verse or if you would like to listen to more sermons to visit W W W. Dot org.

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