gabriola garden

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Beefsteak Tomatoes and Colossal Bud Blast

Before we got prosperous (ha, ha, ha!) Sara and I used to grow everything from seed. Take our tomatoes—we used to enjoy looking at the pictures on seed packets and pick the ones that appeared to be the most delicious and exciting. We grew cherry tomatoes in those days, since the miniature size was in keeping with the balcony where we did our container gardening.

Since we moved into our house on Gabriola, we’ve been going to the garden store each spring to buy seedlings for our tomatoes. Now we grow the real large varieties, the beefsteak types, that are part of the indeterminate family of tomatoes. Given their druthers, they grow in every direction and require staking or caging in order to support the fruit laden branches later in the season.

We used to stake our tomatoes, but got tired of tying and retying the plant to the stake as growth progressed. A friend told us about tomato cages made out of wire mesh. We prefer to use the cylindrical ones, since they help to contain the sprawling plants really well and given proper pruning, provide ample access to the life-giving sunlight that is an essential ingredient in growing sun-ripened, luscious tomatoes.

Tomatoes are susceptible to pests and diseases, so we make sure to use preventative measures against them. Advanced Nutrients, our garden company of choice, makes incredibly powerful products to stave off any infestation, whether of insects or pathogens.

First, at the seedling stage, we use their No Shock to prevent damping off in the cold, wet soil of early spring. Then we start working on the root systems. We administer Advanced Nutrients Voodoo Juice, in tandem with their Piranha and Tarantula, to establish a plant-friendly rhizosphere for each root system, increase root mass, and colonize the systems with beneficial fungi and bacteria.

Larger and healthier root systems make for better plants and not only more numerous fruits but also a marked increase in their quality. Witness the photos of our incredibly tasty tomatoes which we just picked off the vines.

The giant one has been dubbed Red Medicine Ball by Hedgehog, since we lectured her once too often on the healing properties of eating lots of vegetables. In addition to Vitamin C, tomatoes do contain lycopene, which helps maintain healthy cardiovascular systems.

In order to ward off insects and pathogens, both during the growth and flowering stage we use Advanced Nutrients Scorpion Juice, and Barricade, and Protector which prevent such common tomato infestations as white flies and aphids, Fusarium Wilt, and Powdery Mildew. By regular use of these products, we managed to avoid these and many other infections of the tomato plant, by increasing their natural resistance to disease and pests.

Of course, the other parts of our grow and flower regimen also helped to produce this fine harvest this year. We use a 100% organic fertilizer from Advanced Nutrients called Iguana Juice Grow and Bloom, as well as their growth and flowering enhancers, such as Organic B, Carbo Load Liquid, and Colossal Bud Blast. They provide the essential B vitamins necessary for any healthy plant, the carbohydrates to stimulate growth and fruit production, as well as the organic harvest stimulants, nutrients and taste enhancers delivered by the magic foliar spray that is truly Colossal in its beneficial effects.

posted by Tim at 6:19 AM


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