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Bahay Kubo Project: Tomato Grow Log #1

It’s been weeks since I transferred my rooted costoluto genovese pomodoro to my small plot. Sadly, I have to report that one of them didn’t make it. The next few days after the transfer, the tomato plants are getting heat stressed from the intense summer sun but I ignored them. One of them couldn’t handle the heat and wilted away as a result.

three live tomato plants and one dead one
One of the tomato plants wilted away

I just realised that the summer tropical temperatures must be too much for this variety of tomatoes. My first attempt was quite successful because it’s been quite cold during the months of January up to and including March. Even though theres been occasional rain showers all throughout April and May it’s been incredibly hot and humid nonetheless.

Tomato plant leaves cupping or canoeing.
Tomato leaves showing signs of heat stress. Cupping or canoeing of leaves signifies heat stress.

I’ve decided to put up a net to lessen the amount of sunlight the plants are getting. It’s a start but I don’t believe it will help because the temperatures even under a shade is at 35°C.

A piece of net over tomato plants.
Added a net to protect the plants from the harsh summer sunlight.

It’s been another couple of weeks since this picture has been taken. Even the largest one among the three doesn’t look very healthy because of the constant heat stress. I’ll continue to monitor them for a few more weeks and see how far they would go in this heat.

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Growing Tomatoes in Soil

Everybody loves tomatoes. Eating them freshly picked and still warm from light of the sun is a pleasure only tomato growers get to experience. The tomato plant is very easy to grow from seeds or cuttings. They grow and flourish everywhere as long as there’s enough sunlight and water as you can see below.

fruiting tomato plant surrounded by weeds
This tomato plant is growing unattended. It’s fruiting despite all the competition around it.

Tomatoes can be grown from seeds or cuttings. Seed packets can be bought from your local gardening center. If you are feeling adventurous you can try growing them from kitchen scraps. Put tomato seeds on a layer of newspaper and dry them under the sun. They need to be thoroughly dried otherwise it might take a while to germinate them. For the lazy (like me) you can just put fresh seeds on potting soil, put it under the sun to dry, wait a few days, then add water. That’s how I germinated tomato seeds recently.

small tomato seedlings on some potting soil
Seedlings! It is fascinating how hard to decompose the tomato skin is.

Wait for them to grow big enough to be transferred to your plot. I usually repot the seedlings into individual nursery pots and wait until they are around 10-15cm long before I transfer them to my garden.

a potted young tomato plant
A young tomato plant in a nursery pot

If a friend or neighbour has a tomato plant you want to experience the pleasure of growing, try asking them for cuttings. Just choose healthy shoots and cut them to 10-15cm. Then put your cuttings in a container filled with clean water. Keep the container in a place with indirect sunlight and wait for a couple of weeks for them to take roots. Be sure to refill or replace the water as needed.

When the roots are long enough, 5cm will do, transfer them to a nursery pot filled with soil. Keep them in indirect sunlight for a couple of days. And slowly introduce them to more light. In a few days you’ll have a healthy potted tomato plant ready to be transferred to your garden.

Once transplanted all that’s needed is regular waterings and plenty of sunlight. You might want to add a tomato cage too because these grow until they can no longer keep themselves up.

Described below is my recent experience in growing tomatoes. I had a blast growing the Costoluto Genovese Pomodoro.

four tomato plants growing on soil
Tomato plants transplanted January 19th. Pictured 2nd of February.

Pictured above are tomato plants grown from clones given to us by a friend. It has grown so much since it’s been transplanted.

big tomato plants
Tomato plants pictured February 21st.

Above I added strings to support the plants. Using strings proved to be a mistake. Because they just kept growing.

big and bushy tomato plants
Tomato plants pictured March 5th.

Until the string broke and the plants collapsed under their own weight. They are already bearing flowers and fruits at this point.

We just propped them up with a better support structure and they went about their business of growing and bearing fruits again. Soon enough we are harvesting tomatoes.

a bunch of Costoluto Genovese Pomodoro
Costoluto Genovese Pomodoro

At first I thought I might be doing something wrong because my tomatoes have a weird shape. My friend who gave me the seedlings never told me what variety they are aside from telling me they are “pomodoro.” It took me a bit of Googling to find out that they are Costoluto Genovese Pomodoro. “Pomordoro”, by the way, is Italian for tomato. So I guess it’s wrong to say “pomodoro tomatoes.”

I eventually had to take down the plants because they’ve grown too big and they started to attract pests. I made sure to save and root cuttings before I did so. Below is a video of me planting the cuttings I took from my previous tomato plant.

Thanks for reading. Good luck and happy growing!

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Memories Can Be Kept, Grown and Eaten

Last January, my wife and I went to Sagada. It is a lovely place that everybody should visit. In one of our wanderings, we passed a cherry tomato plant hanging over a wall. Pampered by the temperate weather of Sagada, the plant looks vigorous and healthy. I picked one of the ripe fruits and took it home.
The tomato is no longer fit to eat when I got home so I just cut it in half and squeezed out the seeds on top of potting soil. Once dried, I sprayed it with water. Days later, I got this:

small tomato seedlings on some potting soil
Seedlings! It is fascinating how hard to decompose the tomato skin is.

In a few more days, I will transplant them and grow them until they bloom and bear fruit. In a few weeks, I will harvest them and eat them. Cherry tomatoes from Sagada. It is possible that I will lose my plants for whatever reason but I’ll make sure to keep seeds to prevent that. Memories I can keep, grow and eat again and again.

Originally published in MJ Garden.