Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tomato: Summer has arrived

It's hard to believe, but the little tomato seed I planted back in March has grown into a great big tomato plant and it is starting to bear fruit.

I left Tokyo for a 3 week trip to Seattle and when I left the plant was barely 15cm tall. I came back on Monday and found the plant had grown to over a meter. In fact, if it weren't for branching, the plant would no doubt be even taller.

One of the care tips for growing tomatoes is to remove buds that appear in between the main stem and the leaf branches. Leaving them in will result in the stem splitting into two branches. This can result in a bigger, bushier plant, but the downside is that each branch must then compete for nutrients and that can result in a lower yield.

Unfortunately while I was out in Seattle, one bud turned into a branch and is now flowering. Cutting it at this stage would probably harm the plant, so I will leave it on and hope for the best. If you catch the buds when they are small, you can remove them fairly easily with just a pinch. When they are larger, though, they require scissors or shears to remove. It also exposes a large raw area which can become infected, so it's better to nip it in the bud (get it? aren't I clever?) than to wait until you've got two branches.

Of course, all this gardening and care talk is just filler for the real reason for this post (as well as the reason we are growing them): Tomatoes!

There are at least two bunches of tomatoes growing now. The tomatoes shown here are about the size of normal cherry tomatoes. These are medium-sized tomatoes, so they should grow quite a bit bigger and redder.

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