29 April 2009

Mittleider Update

Warning: Boring Gardening Post. Please do not feel compelled to read unless you sing to your tomatoes and dream about them as I do.
I have never seen a tomato this early in my garden, so I take my hat off to the Mittleider method. Also, Ballard's Nursery, my parents, and all of the wonderful people who have helped me get here. Thank you. (sniffle) Thank you so much.

Ahem. I hope this little guy makes it. I am slightly worried that perhaps such a small plant is only popping tomatoes out because I have been plucking so many suckers and leaves, and the little plant fears that it will not have truly lived without producing tomatoes before it dies. That white arrow points to the spot where suckers usually show up, but I have been "pruning" a little more aggressively than just suckers around the base and corners. I'm crossing my fingers.

Here we see my variation of the Mittleider tying method. The method recommends you make some T-posts and have rebar or some other tough stuff along the edges of the top of the T. Then you put ty-wire between the bases of your post and tie string from the ty-wire to the re-bar, so you can train every other plant up one side, and the other plants up the other side, maximizing sunlight and air access for your babies. I decided to tie half of the plants to our grape trellis and the other half to stakes. It's hard to tell from this shoddy picture, but there are strings going up from the ground to train the ends and middle plant and two stakes apiece for the other two plants to climb. I'm also crossing my fingers on this one.
In other news, our roses have come out. And some other pink flowers from the back yard have also come out. I think the pinkies might be weeds.

This was the middle day (ish) of the sprouts. Maybe that tomato grew because it was jealous that I was flirting with other fast producing vegetation. I did take the above picture right in front of the tomato plant.

This was the sprouts at the end right after I picked some. The left side is the salad mix, the right is the alfalfa sprouts. I have to say that the sprouting tray made a huge difference. This batch was much more wildly successful than previous jar attempts. I liked the salad mix. The radishes were a little strong if I ate them by themselves, but as a mix with other things I really liked the flavor.
The instructions recommended that you periodically taste the sprouts, and if they get too strong stick them in the fridge. I pulled the sprouts, rinsed a few of the little seed husks out, then stuck them on a paper towel in a tupperware and we have since enjoyed them on salads, tuna wraps, tacos, and by themselves. So take that slow-growing tomato plants! (You know I still love you. Else why would I sing and talk to you in that baby voice?)


Saddie and Levi said...

Two of our tiny tomato plants have teeny tomatoes too (yes, I enjoyed that bout of alliteration - pathetic? perhaps) They are only seven inch tall plants! What are they doing trying to produce fruit?! They look nothing like my Grandpa's tomatoes, which must mean that something is horribly wrong with them. I've had similar thoughts that they must be trying to produce the next generation before they pass on. Good luck to you and yours!

PS Our roses are in bloom too! Even the ones that I pretty much killed are managing to bud out. Aren't they just so lovely? It is a gracious God who allows things to grow for someone as garden challenged as I.

Anonymous said...

Roses already? Wow. My tulips aren't even dead yet (although they're close.)

Lori said...

Congrats of the success of your gardening. I have flowers on my tomatoes plants but no fruit yet. You will have to tell me what you do to prune the plants. I've been wondering about that and too lazy to look in the book. I'm also curious about the vertical growing. I didn't want to try that this go around. I will have to come by sometime and have a look at yours. I too am trying the wonderful gardening method and so far I am have success with it. I have two read strawberries on one plant and many more to come.