Caged Tomatoes


Caged Tomatoes on South Field Plateau

This is a picture from earlier in the summer of volunteer tomatoes in cages on the south field plateau. Tomato caging is the only form of confinement farming we do, but even most of the tomatoes are free to roam about. These are volunteers which I had talked about yesterday. Some of them we dug up and transplanted to other areas. They do far better than the ones I start indoors. For decades I would start plants each spring indoors. I’ve decided though that the volunteers are better and now I just transplant them to preferred locations if needed. It is cheaper since I’m not buying seed, peat pots, paying for lighting, etc. This saves a lot of work and I get better plants for my kitchen gardens.

Outdoors: 77°F/55°F Misty Morning, Sunny Afternoon
Tiny Cottage: 71°F/67°F

Daily Spark: If life gives you melons you may be dyslexic. -Anon

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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6 Responses to Caged Tomatoes

  1. Jill Amstead says:

    What a wonderful idea. I love it! Starters at the store are so expensive. Are there any tricks you use to encourage volunteering? I think it is funny how you don’t have human interns but you do have plant volunteeers! What a riot!

    • I think that the location makes a big difference. Think micro-climates. The best areas that are out of the wind, south facing, get sufficient light, warm early but not too early (frost issue) and have good soil fertility and water. Most of the seeds are either coming from the animal manure or from where they simply dropped from last year’s plants. In the case of those that dropped they are already in somewhat of a preferred location since a plant succeeded in growing there last year and thus the micro-climate is favorable. In the case of those seeds dropped by the animals in the manure they have the advantage of fertile soil from the manure but they’re exploring possibly new and uncharted lands. If they get dropped on a regular path they’re not going to make it due to traffic. But maybe they’ll get lucky and the plant will spread.

      If I see a set of volunteers I want to promote I’ll fence it off. Or I’ll dig them up and move them to a location I like better like my kitchen gardens. Caging or staking helps the viney folk.

  2. skeptic7 says:

    What sort of tomatoes do you get? Large, small, red, golden, determinate ( short ) plants, or indeterminate ( keep on growing taller )? I am curious what sort of tomatoes are produced by generations of feral breeding. I know people who have had volunteer cherry tomatoes.

    • So far I wouldn’t consider it enough generations to make any generalizations. There are cherry tomatoes, medium and large tomatoes. Once in a while I’ve seen a yellow but most are red. Some are very round but not the ‘perfect’ globes one sees in the store.

  3. Daniel says:

    Given the family tomatoes come from, are there any issues with pigs eating the tomato plants themselves?

    • Ours do eat the plants and I’ve seen no ill effect however it is just a tiny part of their diet. One might not want to feed large amounts of the plants to the pigs but then large amounts of many things are unadvised.

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