In the greenhouse in June

Credit: Carolyn Herriot


The scene in the greenhouse changes dramatically by the end of June. I rearrange everything to grow 5-gallon pots of tomatoes (one per pot) and 2-gallon pots of peppers, eggplants, basil and tomatillos.

The lower growing bush tomatoes (determinate) grow in the centre of the greenhouse, supported by a tomato cage. The vining (indeterminate) varieties grow happily up strings along the sides. Here’s the trick! Wind the pliable tomato stem counterclockwise around the string as it grows. Pinch the suckers out of the leaf axils as well, keeping the plant to one single main stem, maybe two if you miss a sucker! You’ll get way more tomatoes this way.

A bin of ready compost was screened last week especially for this job. I mix screened compost with 50% coconut fibre, also known as coir, because last year I found the super absorbency of coir meant I needed to water much less. Coir is a waste product that can replace peat, a non-renewable resource. Unfortunately it has to be flown in from Thailand until we can grow coconuts on the west coast of Canada!

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Above: You can see from this photo of basil that it is coming up very sturdily. Basil is such a heat-loving, tender annual herb that I find it best to wait until the weather has warmed up before sowing it. Seeds germinate fast when conditions are bright and sunny, and the basil grows on much faster in the absence of miserable conditions.

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