Every year I dream of a tomato glut. I dream of having so many tomatoes that I can make my own pasta sauce and tomato sauce and store it away for the rest of the year.
So far it has yet to happen.
I suspect that part of the problem in the past has been my somewhat haphazard approach to the vegetable garden. I start the Spring full of good intentions: the vegetable patch is weeded, plants are rotated throughout the beds and plants are mulched and watered regularly. For some reason, though, that tends to be where it ends. I enjoyed the idea of having a vegetable garden and harvesting (and preserving) my own produce, but I didn’t enjoy the prospect of it. And it wasn’t the work involved. I think that the objection lay somewhere in the idea that for something to be valuable I had to pay for it, and I certainly wasn’t paying for the produce growing in my backyard. (I know, right?).
This year I was determined it would be different. I would actually eat the produce I was growing. I would finally get my tomato glut.
So I purchased tomato seedlings, I potted them up. I mulched them, I watered them. Heck, I even tried growing some from seed! I didn’t think I was doing terribly, but I didn’t really have a comparison for the tomato plants. They didn’t look particularly healthy, but perhaps they were still growing. Or adjusting. Or something.
And then I purchased some seedlings. Including a giant tomato.
I had definitely gone wrong somewhere, and it was time to try to fix the problem (before it was absolutely, positively too late and I had to kiss my glut goodbye for another year).
Lizzie from Strayed from the Table suggested that the problem might be solved by giving them some potash. Right, potash added to the shopping list, but what else could I do to help jump start my tomatoes?
I googled a little bit, read some articles by Burkes Backyard, and Gardening Australia (and a few other less reputable sources) and they all seemed to agree: don’t worry too much about fertiliser, they don’t need that much, but do make sure you give them potash. They love potash, apparently.
Was this really all I’d been doing wrong all these years?
So, today potash was purchased (I’d never heard of it before now!).
The instructions said something like 10g of potash per sqm (and gave a handy guide that suggested that an average adult handful was about 50g). Bearing in mind that my plants are in pots (and I wasn’t up to measuring out exact quantities) I just spread a very small amount around the roots of each plant.
The instructions said to make sure the soil was damp first, so I gave them a light water and then sprinkled on some potash.
The instructions then told me to rake the potash in to a depth of about 5cm. That wasn’t going to happen in a pot, so I just ignored that part and finished with watering deeply, as per the directions.
Turns out I didn’t need to worry about that raking part, the watering seems to have done it for me! Bonus!
I’m hoping this is all I need to grow some healthy tomatoes (though in the next few days I might give them all a watering with some seasol, to0). I’ll keep you posted on the results (and thanks Lizzie for pointing me towards the potash!).
Do you have any secrets for growing healthy tomatoes? Are you lucky enough to have a tomato glut?