Tomato update – cages up

0620-tomatoes

I couldn’t resist taking some photos before leaving for work this morning. We put up the 54-inch cages on Sunday. They are $3.99 from Canadian Tire. We still need to brace all the cages together with bamboo sticks. This year, I’ve also staked the plants within the cage. It’s part of my experimentation. Although the cages do keep each plant under some control, once they start fruiting, it can get very heavy. I’m hoping the staking will provide some additional stabilization.

Up until Sunday, the little Coeur de Boeuf tomato plant was about to get tossed, was still under my makeshift weather-protection ‘jacket’.

coeur-with-jacket

It’s managed to survive the last three days without the jacket. It’s standing strong on its own, in full sun and gusty winds. You have no idea how pathetic this seedling looked. I was obviously too embarrassed to even take a photo. Originally, the other Coeur de Boeuf (below) was the biggest and strongest of all my tomato seedlings. But one sunny day in early May, I was careless and I left my little seedlings in the sun for too long. Both Coeur de Boeuf seedlings suffered the most damage, to the point that I was almost certain they would both perish. After that day, they never sat in the sun again. I placed them out of the sun in my dining room.

coeur

The one I transplanted into the blue bin was the original hardy seedling – taller than all the other tomato seedlings. It too wore the makeshift protection jacket at the beginning. Today, it is one of the smaller plants, but this afternoon when I returned home, I noticed that it does have a flower. I suppose I could pinch it off and allow the energy to go into growing a bigger plant, but I want to see what happens.

I’m completely amazed at how both these plants have hung on and fought to survive. I’m not exaggerating. Over 85% of the leaves were burnt to a crisp. The plants were limp, with barely any green showing. I didn’t even water them as regularly as I did with my other seedlings after the sun scorch incident. I didn’t have the heart to toss them in the bin, but at the same time I was doubtful that they would make it into my garden. The other huge factor for holding on to a little bit of hope was that these were my only two Coeur seedlings, and I really really want to taste a Coeur tomato.

I’ve definitely learned my lesson and will not rush my seedlings next year, no matter how hardy they look. The sun’s rays are dangerously strong, especially on my deck. Even if I do not end up with may Coeur tomatoes to sample, I am humbled by them. Watching them both come back to life is such a gift.

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