By May my greenhouse tomato had been growing steadily larger and was just starting to put out flowers.
So I started switching my liquid feed from 16-16-16 to 3-20-20.
She’s too bushy-but tons of flowers. It was time for a trim- and to start better supporting the potential baby tomatoes. And while the greenhouse keeps the tomato to a happy temperature- it does nothing for pollination. So Big Baby Black Krim gets some outside holidays, usually to where I’ve been seeing the most bumble bees. Bumble bees are the best tomato pollinator- the buzzing they do helps shake the pollen out.
So I got my twine and snips, and got to work!
So many flowers!
People sometimes don’t fertilize their tomatoes enough, or they stick with a general liquid food past the point where the plants need more phosphorus and potash. A good rule of thumb is to stick with an balanced fertilizer till your tomato is nearly full size, and to switch to a “bloom” food when you start to see well developing flowers. Also as the fruits grow they’ll need the feed to grow correctly.
Really rich soil mixes or just straight up manure is of course the traditional method, but my little pot system demands some compromises with tradition.
And today I got proof that my pollination strategy had paid off!
I’ve spotted three baby tomatoes so far and several other flowers that look pollenated. You could hear my screech of joy from space when I found them this morning, and my happy hand flaps could have harnessed to power a small nation.
Mom was possibly concerned for my well being as I dragged her downstairs to see- I’m not sure the noises I was making were particularly sensical.
Once I was done wildly gesticulating I got back to work. I cut away more bottom leaves, any crossing branches, and any duplicate flowers in bad places. Then I tied or re-tied with twine the branches that held the most flowers, to make sure as the fruit ripens the branches are supported.
I also top dressed the tomato with some good tomato soil, (when in doubt use a marijuana blend) and gave her some more liquid bloom food. And back into the warm embrace of the greenhouse she goes, until the next set of sunny days.
I’m gonna be drowning in tomatoes this year (for a San Francisco garden) and I can’t wait!!!