Monday, 27 April 2009

Rain Again!

Well ... I guess I shouldn't complain because we've had several days of sunny weather and one of my tomato plants, Red Alert, has just started to set fruit - the first flower has faded and a tiny pea-like tomato has appeared!

I did sow the seed for this plant in February so I guess it's not surprising for it to be at this stage, at this time of the season. However, not all tomato plants will set fruit in cool temperatures which is one reason why Red Alert is an early variety.

It's not just the amount of time it takes from seed to fruit, it's also the ability of a variety to "set" - that is, pollinate flowers to become fruit in cool temperatures - that makes a variety early.

Many larger varieties that originate in Italy for example, will not set fruit so early in the season because of temperature, humidity and length of day - all of which tomato "set" responds to.

Of course temperature and humidity can be controlled in high-tech greenhouses, and duration of day can be controlled by artificial light also.

So if you want an early tomato variety, the ability to set fruit in low temperatures is important. Red Alert and Glacier are two good examples.

By the way, do keep them out of the rain at this time of year if possible.

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