Monday, November 26, 2012

Environmentality 21 November 2012

Dear Environmentality Listeners,

Jaime, Smokey and Sarah were joined by our resident gardening expert, Jodi Jackson, to discuss what everyone loves to grow and eat, tomatoes.

We recommend that you listen to the podcast as Jodi has many great tips and pointers that will help your tomato plants produce a bountiful crop.  And it is still not too late to plant your tomatoes! Here is a summary of Jodi's tips:

  1. Get your soil pH right through using a soil test kit.  This will help you determine whether your soil is towards the acid or alkaline side of the scale.  Tomatoes are acid loving plants and thrive in pH 5.5 soils.  Other plants tend to prefer netural pH soil.  Chook poo, mushroom compost and well rotted manure - these are examples of matter which all promote soil acidity.
  2. Jodi grows tomatoes commercially and has developed a method to promote root growth and strong plants.  Seedlings are planted whereby 2/3 of the stem is under the soil, and excess shoots are removed.  Only the top 1/3 of the tomato plant and folliage remains.  Jodi has had success with this method, however controversial!
  3. Ensure lots of organic matter, compost and a fist full of rock dust is dug into the soil before planting your tomato plant.  Rock dust acts like a slow release fertiliser.
  4. Brown marks at the bottom of a plant is a sign of dry soil.  Dig in more organic matter around the plant and mulch heavily with straw.  The leaves will tell you how moist the soil is. 
  5. A sprinkle of potash around the plants feeds them and sets the flowers and fruit.  Blood and bone is another useful top dress.
  6. Jodi using three stakes per plant.  One is the 'leader' in the middle, and guides two lateral shoots along the other stakes.  
  7. An organic bacteria non toxic spray (BT spray) can be used to deter white cabbage butterfly.
  8. You can make new plants with off shoots lower down the stem from your existing tomato plants.

Image by Y. Larratt

Some upcoming events:
- Bright Industries are hosing a non-for-profit event selling donated plants at Dallas Drive, Broadmeadows on Saturday the 1st December.
- Jodi will be demonstrating how to make tomato plant cuttings at the Craigieburn Gardens 10-12pm on Sunday 2nd December.
-  The Hume Indigenous Group are hosting a once a year event on Wednesday 12 December, 78-81 Pearcedale Rd Broadmeadows 10-2pm.  There will be DIY activities, raffle, music and more.

We played the following excellent tunes:

Astrid - Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Love - The Red Telephone
Grizzly Bear - Southern Point
Sweet Dreams - The Grates

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