Basket Recycling

The Greenhouse Project cares about your environment. So at the end of the season, hang on to those baskets!

To reduce the impact of plastic waste on our environment, The Greenhouse Project is going to recycle/replant the baskets we sell.
If you bought a hanging basket from us, you can bring it to any one of our sales events throughout the year and receive a $1 off your purchase!

No limit on the amount of baskets you return, but please note these important qualifying conditions:

MUST be a basket purchased from The Greenhouse (examples will be on display)
MUST NOT be broken
MUST be empty and clean

Hanging baskets only, no exceptions. The Greenhouse Project has right of refusal. Discount only, no cash back.


Tomatotoes…to pinch or not to pinch?

Q: Do I remove the side shoots from my tomato plant?

A: Well that depends because there are two basic types of tomato.

See the source imageThe first are called ‘Determinate’ or Bush types. These include varieties like ‘Tumbler’, ‘Totem’, ‘Minibelle’, ‘Garden Pearl’ and cascade varieties. You DO NOT remove (pinch) the side shoots. These tomato plants know what they are doing, hence the name Determinate. They will grow outwards forming a mound, stay small and bushy, or cascade down. These determinate or bush types are great to grow in pots, tubs or even hanging baskets. They may not need supports as they can be sturdy stemmed plants.

See the source imageThe second type are called ‘Indeterminate’ commonly called Cordon or Vine tomatoes. This group include varieties like ‘Moneymaker’, ‘Alicante‘, ‘Sungold‘, ‘Gardeners Delight‘ and ‘Black Krim‘. This group contains the largest number of varieties and you DO remove (pinch) the side shoots that grow out from the axis of the stem and leaf. This is done to leave one stem which will carry the leaves and the fruit trusses, and divert all the plants energy into the developing fruits instead of excess growth. Depending on the height of your support system (see below), the tomatoes are usually ‘stopped’ after about 7 trusses have set. This ‘stopping’ simply means cutting off the top growing point, after the maximum height has been achieved.

The varieties you bought from The Greenhouse are listed in a separate post and state whether they are Determinate (bush-don’t pinch) or Indeterminate (vine-pinch). But if you are in any doubt, just click here: ‘contact us’ and ask.

Types of support for vine tomatoes.

Vine varieties are floppy by nature and tall stems won’t stand upright. If left to grow unsupported a couple of things happen, 1) the stems are susceptible to strong winds and may bend and break, 2) the plants sprawling on the ground can become more prone to disease (see post on common problems) and the fruit quality can suffer.

There are endless ways to support your vine tomatoes. Choose a system that lifts the plants off the ground and allows for air circulation. Not only will it look tidier, but you’ll grow a bigger haul. Here are the four popular options.

See the source imageStakes

Install wood or rebar stakes at least 6 feet-tall at planting time. As the plants grow, tie the stems loosely to the stakes with twine or strips of fabric. Interconnecting the stakes to form a linked system adds stability.

See the source imageTuteurs

A Tuteur is just a structure fashioned from stakes into a basic tripod or square. The weight of the plant will generally anchor the trellis to the ground.  Simply lash one end of 3 or 4, 8-foot sticks together, spread the untied ends about 3 feet apart and equidistant from each other over the tomato plant, then press the sticks 4 to 6 inches into the soil. You can also string a length of twine from the top and (loosely) tie it to the base of the plant as an added trellis.

Image result for Staking Tomatoes PlantsWeave

This training technique supports tomatoes with twine woven between rows of stakes and has infinite variations. You can then just snip the string at the end of the season and compost the plants.

See the source imageCommercially Bought Cages and Supports.

Cylindrical, tri-fold or square wire cages keep tomatoes upright without the need for tying the stems. A variety of functional and decorative canes, trellis and supports in various colors are readily available and a matter of personal choice.

 


What’s Wrong With My Tomato Plants?

Caring for your Tomatoes.

You’ve carefully brought your plants home from The Greenhouse, you’ve waited till there’s no chance of a frost and lovingly planted them outside in the warm soil. The companion plants in your vegetable patch are perfectly chosen;
borage, chive, nasturtium, basil, carrot, sage, onion, garlic, lettuce, asparagus, bean, cucumber, mint and parsley are thriving. Water has been generously applied and the liquid fertilizer has flowed in just the right amount.

But! Your tomatoes are not happy.

Unfortunately tomato plants can suffer from a multitude of things, aphids, flea beetles, tomato hornworm, whiteflies, blossom-end rot, late blight, mosaic virus, cracking…to name but a few of the most common. The critters are dealt with in The Greenhouse’s other post: “Insects: The Good The Bad and The Ugly” so we’ll just talk about the other problems.

Lets start with a quick word about: Prevention.

  • Because tomatoes are so disease prone, it is important to water from the ground and avoid sprinkling the leaves. Soaker hoses are most effective as they will not splash dirt onto the stems of the tomatoes. By keeping their stems clean, you are lessening their chance at picking up diseases.
  • You’ll need to stake or cage your tomatoes. This will help support them and keep the fruit and stems off of the ground.
  • Mulch. It’ll help with moisture control and keep those stems clean.

BlossomEndRotScotNelsonFlickr

Blossom End Rot
Basically, what happens is the fruit turns back on the bottom. It begins to rot from the bottom up. It is very difficult to save any fruit that has this on it. Caused by lack of calcium usually DUE TO IMPROPER WATERING. The best way to fix this problem is regular watering so the plant can uptake nitrogen through the ground water. Also consider sure you fertilizer about once a month.

 

 

Image result for tobacco mosaic virus tomatoTobacco Mosaic Virus
You know you have this when your tomatoes become yellow and green spotted. They may even develop brown patches on them as well. If you are a smoker, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before touching your tomato plants.
Also, be sure not to plant where any infected tomato or tobacco plants were planted previously. If you find it hard to eradicate, look for resistant varieties.

 

 

Image result for radial cracking tomatoRadial Cracking
When the top of the tomato begins to crack and split. Majority of the tomato is still salvageable, but it is a pain nonetheless. The best thing you can do is select varieties that don’t do this. Unfortunately it’s common in most larger varieties.
You can also help prevent this by watering consistently and stopping large changes in moisture by mulching.

 

 

sour_rotSour Rot/White Mold
This is when your tomato cracks and has white, scummy fungus coming out of it. Destroy the affected fruit and improve conditions. The best thing you can do is to not wet the surface of the tomatoes when watering and be sure to stake your tomatoes properly to keep the fruit off the soil.

 

 

 

 

Image result for tomato alternaria spotAlternaria
You know you have this when your green fruit starts to have gray sunken spots on it. Be careful not to damage your plant when pruning. Also, water by ground irrigation instead of using a sprinkling method.

 

 

See the source imageAnthracnose is a fungi that causes fruit rot. There are many types of rot that can affect tomatoes, but anthracnose is especially prevalent. The fungus survives and even overwinters in old plant debris but can also be contained in seeds. Wet weather or splashing from irrigation provides ideal conditions for disease development, as do temperatures of 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 C.) or more. Remove and destroy infected fruit. Ensure ground watering, mulching and keep fruit and leaves off the soil. Rotate crops and keep soil weed free. Use an organic fungicidal product.

 

 

tomato_D32a-Vert-symptoms-1899_zoomVerticillium
This is where older leaves on the tomato plant begin to turn yellow and brown. They will eventually wilt. This happens mainly during colder weather. The only way to prevent this from happening is buying a variety of plant that is resistant to it.

 

 

Image result for early blight tomatoEarly Blight
This is when the fruit appears with dark and leathery lesions on the skin near the stem. This can be prevented with organic fungicide sprays and by rotating your crops.