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Tomato Diary 1

8 May: Something’s happening . . .

The experiment: to grow tomatoes during a Sydney winter using seeds scraped from a store-bought tomato.

So, you know how gardening has taken off in lockdown? (Along with baking and cooking, but I’m too lazy for that much effort.) I read or heard, I forget which, something about how to grow veg even if you are a total newbie. One of the comments was that you don’t need seeds: plant a potato, carrot tops, the seeds from a tomato or cucumber. So I scraped the seeds out of a medium sized tomato — all the seeds — into a small pot of soil, chucked more soil on top (and as you can see, we’re not talking specialist seedling soil here), watered them … and mere days later, much to my astonishment, green things began to appear.

9 May: More things are happening!

10 May: Uh oh, things are getting out of hand.

Oh dear, a LOT of green things! I never expected such a freakishly high germination rate! When I counted 30 seedlings, it was time for action.

I’ve pulled out a number of little noodle-y seedlings, and am down to about 15. It’s survival of the fittest now! I plan to get the number down to under ten. Then when they’re bigger, I’ll move them into their own small pots and see how they go. (note: the photos above are so awful because they’re from my phone)

19 May: A forest of tomato seedlings. Which will make the final count?

Will they actually produce tomatoes? I doubt it. It’s autumn now, winter is looming, and my balcony gets sun only from 7:30am to about 1pm. The sun is so low now that nearby trees cast shade as the sun no longer passes above them — while I’m working from home I can nip outside and move the pots, but I’m not sure how much that will help!

Tune in later for Tomato Diary 2.


16 thoughts on “Tomato Diary 1

  1. Even if it’s late in the season this is a brilliant experiment – planting seeds from a tomato. I reckon those seedlings look sturdy enough to pot on now. It’s amazing how quickly they’ll start growing when in their own pots. Also you can pot them well into the soil if they’re looking spindly, holding them by the leaves. Burying the stems a bit encourages a stronger stem. Also when you do the final potting on you can bury them up to first set of lower leaves. Good luck. You never know, you might get some fruit.

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  2. As an add on to Tish, reduce down to six plants, they do take over and need a lot of watering and feeding, but fresh picked tomatoes are the best. Maybe try again in spring if these don’t work out.

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    • I bring them inside at night. There’s no danger of frost, but 13C still seems nippy for such little guys, I think! And in winter it can get down to 5C at night (granted, 9C is more common) so they won’t like that. brrrr.

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