Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Plant your Tomatos now!

Purple Cherokee Tomatos

We have  a long warm season in Alice Springs which allows you to plant a couple of crops of summer vegetables. The touchy tomatoes have two quite specific planting times. The first is in July or August so your tomatoes will flower and set fruit before the consistently hot weather sets in . very hot weather prevents the pollen from tomato flowers from working and they don't set fruit.

The second planting time is January so plants grow all their leafy bits and only start to flower say in march and april - may when it is cooler. We have a tomato that is something like purple cherokee which likes to fruit into the cooler weather. we have much less fruit splitting and rotting - the fruit are particularly thin skinned so this is definately not a variety that will make the supermarkets. The taste of them usually causes the eater to moan. It fruits well into winter if you protect it from frost. Ours wons first prize at the show a couple of years ago which is held in July.

However planting In january is a challenge due to the heat and pests. we plant ours in the hot house and  raise them plants in 4 - 6 inch pots until their roots are showing well through the bottom of the pot. Thus when they are planted out they don't need daily watering.

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