Monday, May 18, 2009

Retreat

The North Wind has returned and some experimenting with the tomatoes has resulted. First, an attempted temporary cold frame consisting of plastic bins and old windows I got free from a neighbour a few blocks away who was upgrading his windows.

But with daytime highs dropping to the +10 °C range, the tomatoes were moved back inside. The plant light is put away, so the next experiment involved aluminum foil behind the tomatoes to increase the natural light from the window. The window is south facing, but due to the roof overhang it does not receive direct sunlight after the spring equinox. Not ideal for plants. But good for keeping the house cool in summer and hopefully enough light for the tomatoes to hold out for another week or two until they can be transplanted outside (I'm thinking last week in May or first week in June). They seem to be doing OK. I can easily bring the plant light back if needed. Next year I won't plant them quite so early (or get bigger pots).

I pulled the flowers off 4 of the 5 plants as recommended in an article I read. It recommended pulling the flowers off if they bloom before transplanting but did not explain why. Consulting with my aunt, she thinks it might help the plant focus on growing roots rather than fruit after transplanting. And might cause the plant to grow larger before flowering again and bearing fruit. Any other thoughts or advice? The plant I left the flowers on has already started producing small tomatoes about 1 cm in diameter. I might almost be harvesting those indoors this year!

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