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Old November 19, 2016   #1
CassInVic
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Default 2016 Tomato Trial (Southern Hemispherre beginner)

This year is my first serious attempt at growing tomatoes from seed. I thought I would post some pictures of my plants as they are growing to keep track of their progress and perhaps get some great advice from you all. And of course to make those in the northern hemisphere jealous

My varieties for this year:
Mortgage Lifter
San Marzano
Tommy Toe
Cherokee Purple
Green Zebra
Yellow Pear
and mystery volunteers.

Picture 1: I planted my first seedling out on Melbourne Cup Day (1st November), in keeping with local tradition. Of course I have started more tomatoes than I have space for so this was was chucked into a spare pot with a mix of leftover potting mix and garden soil. Hopefully the drainage will be ok.

Picture 2&3: The rest of my first batch of seedlings were planted out on the 9th of November into the raised bed.

Some seeds were started a bit later, when I swapped with my sister, so they were still in their pots fattening up. Then I went to Perth for a week for my friend's wedding, entrusting the watering and tomato care to my partner J. Would they survive?.....

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Old November 19, 2016   #2
KarenO
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Your plants look great, nice and stocky. Enjoy your season, it's nice for us northerners to see your springtime down there
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Old November 19, 2016   #3
MissS
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We had our first snow here today, so I am very happy to be watching your nice green plants grow. Your plants look nice and healthy and are off to a nice start.

Thanks for sharing...
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Old November 19, 2016   #4
Cole_Robbie
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Thanks for sharing the pics. I like your raised beds. If everything goes well, you may have to support those cages a little. The wire ones are notorious for collapsing under big plants.
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Old November 29, 2016   #5
CassInVic
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Thanks for the heads up CR, I have plenty of stakes spare so will rig something up if/when they get bigger. We made the raised beds out of some old roofing sheets I got from Freecycle - soooo much cheaper then pre made ones.

The good news is everything is still alive!

The yellow pear and Cherokee purple were planted out 18/11 and green zebra on 25/11 (had to do some thinking about where to put them). One of the GZ was looking a bit poorly by the time I put him out but seems to be making a good recovery in the rich soil where the chicken coop used to be.

Here is my first-planted Tom last Wednesday, putting on a good amount of growth.


A few plants have flowers open but no set fruit as yet.

The smaller Tommy Toe in the raised bed (back left) is sickly and the Cherokee Purples also seem to be struggling to get started. I read that purple veining on the back of leaves (which the small ones have) can be a sign of nutrient deficiency so have given everything a nice drink of liquid fertiliser and Epsom salts.

Not sure if I said in my original post but we only bought the soil for the raised beds this year and although it was marketed as a 'veggie mix' the PH is a bit high. Working on that.
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Old November 29, 2016   #6
ginger2778
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I am in touch with Geoffrey 44 in Victoria. He is already harvesting large fruit for about 3 weeks now. He starts his seeds in your winters, and does cold treatment. He also has an amazing variety of seeds, which he loves to share. You should get in touch with him, he will be an excellent resource for your growing conditions, and great tomato seeds. He can mentor you.
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Old February 15, 2017   #7
CassInVic
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I had such grand plans of taking regular pictures of my patch as it grew but alas, December rolled around (as many call it here, the 'silly season'), and it was all I could do to keep up with the watering.

This is my raised bed this week:
P1040134.jpg

Starting out I meant to try Serious Pruning with only 2-3 stems neatly staked. However, see above re: Christmas/getting away from me. When I got my breath in Jan I decided to remove the lower leaves, terminate any stems escaping the bed and call it a day.

P1040132.jpg

I just can't bear to remove any nicely loaded trusses. After all, the poor plant has gone to so much trouble to get them that far

The plants in the bed are all looking healthy, although the second batch took AGES to get going (transplant shock?) and the green zebra in the front left has only really started growing properly in the last month - hard to see in the pic but it's less than a quarter of the size of the other plants.

P1040138.jpg

The two leftover seedlings were shoved into the chookyard and seem to be doing ok. The soil is good there but there's not as much sun. The little wooden squares have stopped the chickens from scratching at the roots and they don't seem at all interested in the fruit. I thought both of these were green zebras but one is obviously mislabeled and I suspect a Cherokee Purple.

I do have one sickly plant which is my Mortgage Lifter:
P1040136.jpg
No idea what is wrong with it but it was sickly from the beginning, appeared to recover for a while before planting out, and then possibly didn't care for my smallish pot full of garden soil mixed with crap potting mix. Fussy little thing
There's a pink fruit on there now so hopefully will get a few ripe tomatoes before it goes to god. If we like the taste, I think a tomato this size might be better in the raised bed for next year.

Cole Robbie - you were right, those cages are useless. Falling over before I even had any ripe fruit.

(Ginger, that is the second lovely message you have sent me urging me to connect with Geoffrey and I am ashamed to admit I haven't done it! Forgive me. He posts on an Australian gardening forum I also visit and I have seen the evidence of his very early tomatoes. I def. need to learn from him
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Old February 15, 2017   #8
CassInVic
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Apologies for the huge photos. I am still working out the easiest way to resize these. And the last one is showing as the right way up in iPhotos, no idea why is it on its side when uploaded :/
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Old February 15, 2017   #9
MissS
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Your garden is going along quite well. Neatly mulched, producing some wonderful fruit. The plants look much better since they were pruned and you seem to have an abundance of fruit which is the reason that we garden.

Well done.
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