Saturday, July 11, 2015

Bagging Blossoms

My tomato plants are huge and happy, seven weeks after transplanting. Every morning I get up and take a shower, and then I have a few minutes to go out and visit my plants before it's time to get the kids up.  Especially since it's been so hot lately, I love going out early while it's still cool, tying up stems and pinching suckers.

Originally I was planning to keep each plant down to three stems, but that didn't last long. I felt like the smaller-fruited varieties could stand to produce more, and those potato-leaf types can be really sneaky with their suckers. So things have gotten a bit unruly.   I have been supplementing the trellis with stakes.

Several people have asked me what those white things on the tomato plants are. I've bagged some of the blossoms.  Tomatoes will self-pollenize, but cross-pollination does happen. If you plan to save seeds and and want to make sure of getting the variety you want, bagging is a way to isolate the blossoms and avoid surprises.  You put the bags on before the blossoms open, and leave them in place till they've finished setting fruit. (And then mark the truss before you take off the bag, so you don't lose track of it!)  I used wedding favor bags from Michaels.

It does feel a little weird to put bags over your tomato buds.  I couldn't help thinking, "But what if this doesn't work?"  Once the flowers opened I would go out and jiggle them every day, to help them pollinate.  Some of them are still a bit behind, but others have set just fine.  I should be taking this bag off soon. 

Blondkopfchen grows huge, crowded clusters. There are probably 200 blossoms on this thing.  ( I did not try bagging anything on this one!)

Chocolate Cherry blossoms, trying to escape over the neighbor's fence.

Pollinator hard at work.

We've got a ways to go before anything is ripe, but I do have lots of little baby tomatoes.  They are so cute. 

We're hoping to have lots to eat and lots to give away!  Tomato party!


Heather T. said...

Wow. You're going to be able to operate an Italian restaurant with these plants alone!!! They look awesome!

Soozcat said...

Those last ones are lobed enough to be Costoluto Genovese -- is that what you're growing?

Helena said...

The last pic is Chocolate Stripes. I think the penultimate one is either Pruden's Purple or Summer Cider. I'd have to go back out and see if I can figure out which one I was taking pics of.