Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Tomato Condoms

Safe sex in the veggie patch!

Why? To ensure the seeds you save from a particular tomato are not cross-pollinated. My plants are fairly close together, there is a lot of insect activity and it's pretty windy. All these factors might contribute to cross-pollination. As I grow many different varieties of tomatoes I like to play it safe and bag my tomatoes.

The same happens to capsicums and chillies. I like to swap seeds with fellow gardeners, and if I didn't bag the flowers I could not ensure that the seeds I give away are 100% true to type.

This year I was lucky and Mama Gnome made my bags for me. I had bought quite a lot of curtain material from an op-shop a few years ago for exactly that purpose. This year's bags are 15cm X 17cm. A bit bigger than in previous years. My thinking is that maybe the bigger bags can eliminate or reduce blossom drop. On very hot days it gets even hotter inside the bags and blossoms tend to drop. It's a bit of a bummer, if you haven't bagged another flower truss.

Anyway. Get your bags and thread the twine through the top thingie.

Look for a nice truss of unopened blossoms.

Put the bag over it and tie tightly. Once the fruit has set you can remove the bag and leave a ribbon around the stem. Or if the bag is big enough, you can leave it over the fruit. Just make sure people with access to the veggie patch know the rules: Don't touch any bagged fruit or fruit that has a ribbon around it!

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