Tomato Trellis support

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It’s tomato time again and the seedlings that I prepared in the post Grow Tomatoes from Seed in the pots that I prepared in the Newspaper Pots have grown into the planting stage.

One of my cherry tomatoes is growing slowly, but happily, in the open garden bed while the pride of my seedlings (the big truss tomato) is in a large 75 liter pot in full sun and has tomatoes as big as grapes already!

I’ve got one more plant to put into the garden and I will be experimenting with a new Trellis support for it.
In the past I’ve used stakes, cages and other various support methods, but after doing some research I’ve decided to combine the best ideas from a couple of them and make my own.

Here are some of the best systems that I found on the net:DSCF2033
Simple Garden Trellis
Tomato Tee Pee – The Suburban Farm
Tomato Support Ideas

My biggest problem is subterranean termites, should I put any wood into the ground and keep the soil moist (as a tomato needs) they will be sure to invade and eat my trellis.

As you can see in the photo, I’ve adapted the garden trellis to be built from two steel poles I recycled from my neighbors bird cage and pieces of garden hose that had a hole in it.

After banging the poles in on an angle and leaning them against the fence, I used tie wire to connect the hose across the poles.

As the tomato plant grows up through the trellis the hose will support any branches. Any strays will get trained onto the trellis or cut off. I will also be able to tie any branches onto the hose or posts.
Behind the ‘ladder’ is a mesh fence, this will also help to keep the plant supported.

Next year I hope to put a whole row of tomato bushes in. I will probably work something along this theme, but it will be longer and able to cater for more than one plant.

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Worms are your pot plants worst nightmare

wriggly wrigglers
Who would have thought that a pot plant would suffer from compost worm infestation?

Everywhere you read that worm castings are the best thing for fertilising your plants, this is no lie. But the very maker of your valuable worm castings can mean a slow growth rate for your plants in pots.

The job of worms is to eat organic matter and break it down into smaller and more usable elements. When you use a good quality potting mix, it is generally made of 100% organic matter that is mixed in such a way to retain enough water to keep your plant happy while draining freely enough to allow the roots to breathe.

Worm castings are a great source of nutrients of plants, the mix of organic elements slowly fertilises plants and is great to use in potted plants which can only access the nutrients that you give them.

Combining the makers of this magic ingredient with your fabulous pot plants is a recipe for disaster. Worms eat organic matter (read potting mix) and deposit worm castings (read heavy soil). By having a population of worms living in your pots, they eat all the fine material in the potting mix and leave behind a heavy soil that is prone to water logging and poor drainage which will cause your plants to suffer.

Ensure that you don’t get worms into your pots, you should remove any worms from the castings you place in. Also by removing any visible eggs from the castings you will reduce the birth rate of worms in your pots.

If you’ve got a plant that’s infested with worms you should soak the plant in water, remove the plant from the pot and discard the potting mix to the garden where the worms will be appreciated. Re-pot the plant in fresh potting mix and add worm free castings.

Learn more about Compost Worms

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Seed Saving at home – VodCast Review

Seed, Seed, Everywhere a Seed Going through some historic Gardening Australia VodCasts, I found a segment of Jerry Coleby-Williams talking about Seed Saving. Jerry begins by showing us his great bush of Spanish Skyscraper Peas, they are being eaten by caterpillars and are suffering from powdery mildew, but these are the conditions that peas must suffer to be harvested for seed. Saving seed is simple, saves money and will improve your crops! Jerry says that you should never eat your best plants, but leave them go to seed so that they can be harvested and planted next season, giving you a stronger plant. In Jerry’s garden he has been growing Chinese Celery from his own seed for three seasons, the latest crop is the best ever as the plants have adapted to the climate and conditions in the garden. You can do this yourself in your own garden. Jerry continues by going through the steps of saving seeds. The basic premise is that the seed must be completely dry prior to storage. Plants like Portuguese Cabbage must be picked then dried, the seeds will pop out of their shells, while peas and beans must be manually removed from their seed casing and dried prior to storage. Storing your seeds is easy, they need to be in a resealable air tight container and if stored in the refrigerator they can last up to ten years! Make sure you label your containers with the date of harvest and the type of plant your seeds came from. By saving seeds, you will be saving money and a plant that could potentially live for ever. To watch the video you can visit Gardening Australia It’s free and you can learn a lot from it!

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Preserving Basil

TeardropThere is no need to waste a huge basil plant when it’s at its prime, and there is no need to go without basil in the cooler months. Here are some new tips to harvest and preserve your basil!

In the freezer – Take a leaf of basil and fold it so it fits inside an ice cube tray cell, fill all the cells with leaves then fill with water. Place the tray in the freezer then use as many as you need when you are cooking.

Preserving in Oil – Chop 25 basil leaves and put into a sterile bottle, fill with your favorite oil, shake and put it in the fridge.
To use this blend, simply add some oil to your favorite dish. Take into account the oil you have already added to the dish as to not over oil it.

Drying Basil – When the season is nearing its end, cut the basil off at the base and take it inside. Tie all of the bunches together and hang upside down in a dry well ventilated room. After they have dried you can chop them and store it all in an air tight jar. When using dried basil, you will need to use more than if you were using fresh.

By using these simple methods, you can start using your home grown basil in your cooking all year round!

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