Homegrown toma­toes worth the ef­fort

Papakura Courier - - SITUATIONS VACANT - LYNDA HALLINAN

This traps the hu­mid­ity to speed up sprout­ing. Place the trays or pots in a warm spot, such as inside a hot wa­ter cup­board. As soon as you see signs of ger­mi­na­tion, re­move the plas­tic and move the pots into a brightly lit lo­ca­tion in­doors, such as a sunny win­dowsill. They need as much nat­u­ral light as pos­si­ble or they’ll grow tall and spindly (leggy). Once they are 3-5cm tall, move them un­der a cloche or to a tun­nel­house for bet­ter light. The seedlings will need re­pot­ting into larger pots of pot­ting mix af­ter a month. They will be ready to trans­plant at Labour Week­end. es­tab­lished straw­berry beds. Weed (care­fully) around your plants. Do this with a hand-held trowel or fork rather than a push hoe or spade, as straw­ber­ries have wide spread­ing roots that are eas­ily dam­aged when you’re yank­ing out com­pet­ing weeds. Once the weeds are all cleared, lightly wa­ter in fer­tiliser. You can use any gen­eral pur­pose NPK fer­tiliser, as straw­ber­ries are vig­or­ous grow­ers with a gen­eral hunger for ni­tro­gen as well as the potas­sium in a spe­cial­ist fruit fer­tiliser such as Dal­tons Straw­berry Fert or a tomato fer­tiliser. The fi­nal step is to lay mulch or straw over the bare soil around your plants to sup­press weed growth and keep the de­vel­op­ing fruit clear of the soil. Later, when the fruit is ripe, it will be less sus­cep­ti­ble to rot­ting on the un­der­sides or get­ting grey mould if it isn’t sit­ting on damp spring soil. Get your bird cov­ers sorted now too. Plas­tic net­ting does the trick. both of these crops and mulch them well to stop an­other rash of weed seeds ger­mi­nat­ing in spring. No weeds also means no place for slugs and snails to hide, while mulching also helps in­su­late the soil, warm­ing it up just a notch. tun­nel to cut the grow­ing time from plot to plate.

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