Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

This year I have tried growing Green Zebra tomatoes for the first time with good success. The above plant was also a departure from my usual practice of starting from seed. Although I did start the parent plant from seed, but this plant was started from a thinning out of leaders which I did to produce a tall original plant, devoid of lower growth. So as the original plant was growing I took off all the lower growths in an attempt to reduce the chance of disease working it's way up the plant as is the norm in our humid conditions. The tomato plant shown was started from one of these thinnings or cuttings. It was around 200mm long and I buried it quite deeply in the soil in an attempt to get the plant to form roots along the length of the buried stem. It took a while to take off but as you can see it is now tall, vigorous and producing some good sized fruit. I have mostly kept the fruit covered with vege netting, using some old netting that has shredded somewhat due to sun exposure, and a couple of the fruit have been attacked by fruit fly, but the majority is OK. Now that the cooler nights are starting I may be able to do away with these.

The fruit is of a good flavour, but the ripeness is harder to judge than a normal tomato as it doesn't redden at all. The stripes slightly yellow and it is the softness of the fruit which is the real way of assessing it's ripeness. I will certainly be growing these again! If anyone who is going to Daley's wants some seed I'll bring along a few tomatoes. Let me know please.

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Comment by Dianne Caswell on May 19, 2016 at 18:18

The little pink one looks like he needs help!! Love the Yellow Chicken?

Comment by Roger Clark on May 19, 2016 at 17:22

Here is the promised photo of my little garden helpers. Unfortunately I can't keep them away from the plonk, as you can see they are both the worse for wear. 

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 18, 2016 at 9:01

Roger unless you can source properly made cow-pat pit material plus BD 500 plus a few other ingredients, it won't be Biodynamic. There's tree pastes and tree pastes. I bought some 'similar to BD' from Green Harvest and the trees grew fabulously but had hardly any fruit. There's no 'similar to' with BD, it's the real thing or not at all.

BAA sell it in 1.5L quantities now; you don't have to be a member to buy (I'm not and I do.)

Comment by Roger Clark on May 18, 2016 at 6:35

Lissa,

I see that  Dianne has answered. I bought mine on line, as I didn't know that Bunnings sold it. I am going to use it to make a biodynamic tree paste, a la Annette McFarlane as I have had a few trees die possibly due to borers, but also possibly due to using grey water.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on May 18, 2016 at 6:10

Your tomatoes look wonderful Roger, and a good size.

I have used the Diatomaceous Earth on my garden and find it really helps with lots of problems, especially against Caterpillars and White Butterflies on Brassicas. I get mine from Diggers but I see that Bunnings now sell it and most good Produce Stores.

Comment by Lissa on May 18, 2016 at 5:37

"Have you tried diatomaceous earth for the roaches yet?"

I went hunting everywhere for this stuff a few years ago without success. Where can I buy it please?

Comment by Lissa on May 18, 2016 at 5:36

Ah - I can see what I took for teeth are the feathers on top of the head. The brown bit I took to be a dinosaur crest is actually the beak of a bird.

I save tom seed by wiping them over some paper towel and allowing to dry before storing. Rip of bits of the paper towel and seed to plant.

Comment by Roger Clark on May 17, 2016 at 21:52

Cheryl, at the moment the ones pictured are in a large grow bag, in a soil mixture of horse manure, potting mix, mushroom compost and my sandy, hydrophobic soil. I am also growing them well in an old bath and a 3/4 sized wheelie bin in a similar mix.

Comment by CHERYL SLAPP on May 17, 2016 at 9:50

Tried growing these once before but either the possums or lizards ate them.  Will have to give them another go - Roger, are you growing them in the ground, pots or wicking beds?

Comment by Roger Clark on May 17, 2016 at 7:22

I now save seed a lot, especially for easy things like tomato. I just wash the seed in a sieve to get rid of all the flesh and then knock them onto a paper towel and put them on the window sill to dry. These green zebras were easy to grow, the flavour is good without being the best I've ever tasted, but they are prolific. It may well be that these are the variety I need to grow at this time of the year. While cherry tomatoes come up everywhere in mid summer, and Rouge de Marmande and Amish Paste remain my favourite tasting tomatoes at the moment (tomorrow it could change), I will have to experiment with growing from cuttings from these types to compare results with the GZ's. 

Lissa, the little figure at the bottom of the photo is a rubber and steel wire novelty garden aide that my daughter gave me as a present. It wraps around and stays in position to tie up tomato plants. She gave me a couple, I think this one was an Albatross or Pelican, I will take a photo of them soon and post. Have you tried diatomaceous earth for the roaches yet? I think this would work. We can't have you unable to leave the house because of the roaches!!! You think you've got problems, my possums must be getting very hungry, they seem to be eating more and more of anything that I don't cover up, and I can't protect everything.

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