De-leafing Tomatoes

Thursday was spent trying to catch up with work, whilst yawning and wishing I’d told people I was off until Monday but after putting in a double shift I gave myself Friday afternoon off. The joys of being self employed!

So, after looking around and wondering how the grass and weeds grew so fast whilst we were away it was obvious that job number one had to be the greenhouse. Sideshoots and leaves to take off the tomatoes, one of the canes collapsed and a pepper that had given way under the weight of fruits.

Greenhouse Tomatoes

Tomatoes after removing side shoots and leaves in the greenhouse

I figured a couple of hours work but it ended up being nearer to four hours to restore order. One plant had just one tomato on it which was nearly ripe so that’s gone into the house to finish and the plant to the compost bin.

It’s very important to take out any leaves that are starting to die or shading the fruits at this time of year. Opening up the plants allows air to flow preventing moulds and the sun helps ripen the fruits. I have a pet theory that removing leaves at this stage convinces the plant it is dying so it pours all its energies into the remaining fruit, which is precisely what we want.

When I’d finished I had a pile of greenery for the compost bin and the plants looked quite bare. There was more than would fit into the ‘hotbin’ compost bin so I removed a wheelbarrow full of finished compost from the base. The compostĀ  was spread around the redcurrants, jostaberry and sour cherry trees along with some lime as the soil is quite acid.

The hotbin is a real marvel so long as you keep a balance between browns and greens and add enough dry stuff to soak up the moisture hot composting produces. I add a layer every six inches of shredded bark and the sawdust, well chips really, that the chainsaw produces when cutting firewood to do this.

Saturday was a disappointment. For a start the weather was misty and cold and secondly I wasn’t feeling 100%. Probably the 20 degree drop in temperature from Lanzarote earlier in the week. Got a bit done but nothing like what was planned.

In the potting shed a couple of sweet pepper plants were finished so they went to the compost bin and the rest just got spread out a little and supports added as required. The Yellow Banana sweet peppers had ripened when we were away and there’s loads of various chilli peppers.

My large plastic compost bin that was over on the other plot but not used as I’ve built some wooden bins was moved and assembled by the old pigsty. It’s a very shady position which may well get a vigorous blackberry next year. The bin can be moved leaving some nutrients behind. I’d forgotten what a game it was assembling the bin, one of those jobs where an extra arm would come in handy but I got there in the end.

Strawberries for tea

Strawberries ripening

Strawberries ripening

Saturday night we had a real treat, fresh strawberries. It has come to my attention that during our holiday many strawberries vanished when my grandson visited. He apparently kept repeating ‘sweet and juicy’ which is pretty accurate. We’ve not had any luck up to now with strawberries but the last lot are laden with fruit which is ripening fast in the sunshine.

Sunday afternoon was spent grass cutting. The cuttings were used to mulch above the compost around the fruit bushes. By five o’clock the sky was threatening and dark with a distinct chill in the air but I carried on until half past six when I felt a few drops of rain and decided it was time to head in.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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