Pictures above taken on March 31st.
Plants are growing well and have almost full sized tomatoes on the first truss.
1 month from now the cherry tomatoes will be ripening with the other varieties following about 10 days later.
The temperature, humidity, ventilation and watering are all controlled by
The fruit is ripened on the plant and picked daily.
Fresh picked tomatoes are available to buy at our nursery or at our fruit shop in Pickering.
We grow the following types of tomatoes: Round, Cocktail on the Vine, cherry plum, blocky (papaletto) and Cherry.
The pollination of the tomato crop is carried out by a specially introduced colony of bumble bees numbering from about 50 to 100 per hive. The bees collect pollen from the tomato flower by clinging upside down and buzzing to vibrate the pollen out of the top of the flower this is a very efficient method of fertilizing the flower and so ensures a full sized tomato fruit is formed. The process of clinging onto the flower leaves bruises giving vital evidence that the flowers are getting pollinated.
|The main pest of glasshouse tomatoes is the whitefly, to control these we introduce a small parasitic wasp called Encarsia Formosa into the crop each week. The encarsia lay their eggs within the egg case of the whitefly egg this breaks the life cycle of the pest.|
|Another pest is the red spider, for this we introduce a insect called Phytoseiulus Persimilis. This works by simply eating several red spiders per day.|
|A major problem in glasshouse tomatoes is grey mould (botrytis). We never use chemical fungicides to control this but rely on a computer program which controls the humidity in the crop automatically using minimum heating pipe temperatures and complex venting techniques. This controls the mould by never letting the humidity reach the level at which it can thrive.|
We have been growing tomatoes on the nursery since 1968.
Much has changed in this time. The question I am asked over and over again is why do supermarket tomatoes have no flavour. The answer to this lies in the way fresh produce is distributed and sold by the multiples. All fruit and vegetables have to withstand the journey to the distribution centres and then out to the stores. Over the years the supermarkets have demanded from their growers varieties that have a long shelf life not necessarily good flavour. In the case of tomatoes this means picking before the fruit is ripe so it can ripen during the several days of distribution. The sugars in tomato fruit develop much better if they ripen on the plant so fruit that is picked ripe and sold the same day will always taste much better.