Tomato Growing Methods

High Tunnels:

Grafted indeterminate tomatoes are started in a heated high tunnel house in February. Then in March, they are transplanted directly in the soil in a high tunnel, where the row area is heated by water in underground pipes. Drip lines are used to water and fertigate the growing plants. A stout twine is used to trellis the plants. The blossoms are pollinated using a leaf blower. When needed, beneficial predators are used to control harmful insects like spider mites. Excess foliage, is pruned as the plants grow.

Tomatoes begin to ripen in early June on the bottom of the plant. These plants will be harvested until late August. At this time the field tomatoes are starting to ripen.

Extremely high quality tomatoes are produced using this system. The fruit is picked ripe and because of little disease pressure the fruit is very tasty and has an extended shelf life.

Field Tomatoes:

A green manure crop is grown on the site for these determinate tomatoes. Once the ground is fitted and fertilized, black plastic is laid on top of beds to control weeds. At the same time drip lines are laid underneath the plastic. The drip line is used to water and fertigate the growing plants. The transplants are planted using a waterwheel planter. This planter punches a hole in the plastic and puts the plants close to the drip line. After planting, 4 foot wooden stakes are driven in between every two plants. Once the plants start to grow, twine is strung between the stakes. This keeps the plants upright thus keeping the fruit off the ground. With the plants upright, the breezes keep the plants dry. By using the stakes and tying up the plants, we are able to produce quality blemish free and disease free fruit. Round red tomatoes and Roma or paste tomatoes are raised using this technique.

Our late fall tomatoes are grown in a high tunnel. These tomatoes are planted in late June. The high tunnel allows us a way to protect the tomatoes from late frosts. Using this technique allows us to pick quality fresh fruit into November.