Tomato growing tips from Baytree Garden Center in Weston

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Here’s the weekly Out in the Garden column with Mark Cox, from the Baytree Garden Center in Weston…

I must admit that when I stood there in the courtroom in front of the prosecution, I felt very confident.

The chase team was obviously serious, because they were all wearing those expensive little legal wigs with black robes.

Tomato shoots

Not to be intimidated, I also wore a wig, although mine was made from a used mop that T-Dog had smuggled out of C-wing and then trimmed.

Billy offered his overgrown big toenail which T-Dog deftly used to chop off the aforementioned mop head.

My black dresses were slightly more difficult to make, but Billy and X-Man, two geniuses it must be said, had glued several black trash bags together in art class for me.

In the dimness of the courtroom, my trash bag dresses looked amazing.

Unfortunately, every time I moved, I looked like a huge crusty bundle and, to make matters worse, my wig, which was now starting to dry out, gave off the distinct aroma of wet dog.

Before I could even make my opening statement, the Right Honorable Mr. Justice Mr. Lock Imup told me that I was in contempt of court and should be taken into custody for a further week. “Wearing disguises is not acceptable in my courtroom,” he said.

With his words ringing in my ears, I was taken away.

On my return and before I had barely time to change, Mr McKay, my caretaker, had taken me to his greenhouse to start sowing his tomato seeds which will eventually be planted outside when ready in a few month.

As an avid gardener, Mr. McKay had several large heated propagators which are basically little greenhouses where you can control the temperature inside to some degree. Propagators are not expensive and once you buy one, it will last you a long time.

To start, I filled what looked like hundreds of small seed cell trays with multi-purpose compost. Once filled, I sowed a seed in each cell, sprinkled a thin layer of vermiculite on top and followed by a good watering in each cell before placing the tray in the propagator.

If you don’t have a propagator, you can cover the seed cell trays with a small bubble of cling film. The cling film will reduce moisture loss and increase the humidity inside. Then place them on a warm, sunny windowsill.

Because Mr. McKay had several heated propagators, all I had to do was load them up, close the lid, and turn it on. In a few days, the seeds will begin to germinate and grow their first leaves through the compost. When they reach about 2-3cm in height, they will need to be transplanted from their cells into individual 5cm pots.

Repotting follows the same process above. You will fill the pots with moist all-purpose compost topped with vermiculite. However, when transplanting the young plants to their new home, you’ll need to be very careful not to damage their tender roots in the process.

I will be showing T-Dog, X-Man and Billy how to pot them up as they will need to repot a few times before they can be planted outside in Mr. McKay’s vegetable garden.

Fingers crossed I’m not the one potting them because that would mean my trial didn’t go well again.

#Free the four gardeners!



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