Sunday, March 27, 2011
Getting Started. Making your own Seeds.
If you want to ask me the easiest vegetable to start gardening with, I would say, start with tomato. Problem with some of the vegetables is that getting their seeds could be a concern. Not for tomato. If you get a big round tomato all juicy from inside, you can easily make seeds by yourself. You just have to take out the seeds, wash them with water, then dry them under sun for a day, and voila! You have tomato seeds at your disposal! It is all ready to be planted.
Another reason why tomato is good vegetable for a beginner gardener is that it can be planted from July to December! Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Well, I sowed my seeds in December, and they are all bearing fruits now(March 4th week).
Tomato plants can grow to a height of 3-4 feet. They start giving fruits in 2.5-3 months, and if well pollinated, can give bumper yields.
Each tomato plants should be given around 1/2 sq feet area. So effectively in a normal red brick pot of diameter 25 cm, you can easily grow 2 tomato plants. I had mine of height just 15 cm, still they grew well, so they can grow even in small pots. Just maintain a distance of around 15 cm between each.
Since the tomato flowers have both, male and female portion in each flower(same in brinjal/eggplant), there isn't much role of insects in pollination of tomato plants. This does not mean they are not needed, but its just that their role is reduced as compared to their work needed in say, Pumpkin pollen pollination. Experiments have shown that shaking the tomato plants once their flowers emerge can result in upto 50% higher yields! The logic behind this is simple, the male pollens get to female part of the flower because of that, and the flower fertilizes, resulting in fruit. So a little shake is good.
I made sure that tomato plants got direct sunlight, and watered them daily twice (Morning at 9 am, and evening 7 pm). They responded to it well, and I have no complains the way they have grown thus far.
Also, as plants start giving fruits, the plant may droop because of weight of the tomato fruits. A small stick/thread giving support to tomato plant is highly beneficial for further growth of the plant.
Little fertilizer can help if the plant is not growing well, I applied little urea once a month. I am in process of making compost, so may be next summer, I would update how well tomato fared under compost manure as compared to urea.
A tomato plant can give upto 10-20 tomatos. That means if each tomato is 100 gms, you can get 1-2 kg of tomato per plant. That's obviously over a season per plant. Now if you have some expectation set, say you want around 10 kgs of Tomato in a season, it would be safe to have 20 tomato plants. That's an emperical formula of course, and depends on type of tomato, weight per tomato, so do the calculations before you begin!
Let the images speak for themselves