Hydro Unit
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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Farewell Yellow Tomatoes...

...we hardly knew ye.

I'm afraid that I have some bad news today: the yellow tomato plant is no more.

The AeroGarden instructions say to trim the tomato plants' leaves fairly aggressively, and now I know why. If you don't, it seems, they will over-shade and crowd each other out in the limited space under the light hood. It's my own fault, I guess. I didn't trim them back very aggressively, figuring that big, fluffy plants that were producing tons of tomatoes were a good thing, and they looked good on the webcam. The unit's location in the corner, chosen largely because it would let me put the camera in an out of the way spot, made it hard to get in there and trim the plant on the right, which is the one that out-competed the yellow plant.

I have been picking ripe tomatoes from all of the plants lately, and the yellow one was fine just the other day. When I went to pick some more tomatoes this evening however, the yellow plant folded over limply, and then snapped off near the base when I tried to tie it back up.

Realizing what had caused the problem, I picked off all of the ripe tomatoes (including a couple that probably weren't entirely ripe yet, and a handful of over-ripe ones that had been hiding back in the too-bushy plants), and trimmed the heck out of the remaining two plants. The results don't look as good on camera, but hopefully they'll keep going for another couple of months, enjoying the extra space and nutrients. I have almost two months' worth of nutrient tablets left, and I suppose that with only 2/3 as many plants to support, they'll appreciate the additional food.

This bowl represents the end of my yellow tomatoes, but even though they're "end of the line," they still taste quite good. I'll make a salad or something and enjoy these, start trimming a bit more aggressively, and chalk it up as a lesson learned.

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