This is one of our indoor tomato houses. We aim to have a late may harvest by seeding on January 23rd. This house was transplanted right into the soil on March 16th and this picture was taken that day. Heather Jardin and I set these plants in less than three hours. This house is one of two and is the one that we maintain with organic methods (not certified); the other house is hydroponic. We have a highly amended soil warmed from below with radiant heat about 1 foot down. We also heat the air with a air blast oil furnace and a barrel wood stove we have to keep stoked ourselves. It takes a lot of heat and therefor expense to raise these tomatoes, but to taste that real tomato flavor in May is worth it.
We like a variety called Cobra from Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Maine. This year both houses are cobra with a small trial of Geronimo and Trust as well as a experiment of growing cherry tomatoes for the early market. The cherry tomatoes take up the leftmost two rows of this 12 row house. I expect we will be picking cherry tomatoes about may 15th! It has been one week since this picture and the transplant shock has subsided and they are growing fast, some are already showing flowers. I have a small hive of bumble bees being delivered on Thursday that help pollinate the crop.
The black lines down the rows are the drip irrigation system, we can fertigate though it with organic fertilizers. The wooden sticks you see in the picture are supports for the wire system that supports the trellis the tomatoes hang from. These plants don’t grow like an outdoor tomato they grow stright up and need regular pruning to mainatin a single stem. We generally get them to grow to about seven feet tall before dissiease takes over and kills them off by the end of July. Keep tuned for tomato updates and a video about how to prune indeterminate tomatoes.