Heirloom Tomatoes: Bali

Bali Tomato Seedlings

Bali Tomato Seedlings

Once again I am growing the wonderful Bali Tomato, from Indonesia. It was a good tomato last year, and I got a bit of a jump on the season this year so perhaps I can beat the desert heat. Perhaps not, as it is supposed to hit 80F this week!

These are currently waiting to get a bit larger before they get put into the Earthbox.

Tomatoes Ripening

Green Zebra TomatoThe tomatoes have finally started to ripen! Seems I am having a problem with Blossom End Rot on all varieties. Guess next time, I will have to increase the  amount of hydrated lime that I add; perhaps crush some eggshells into the soil. Live and learn.

The Green Zebras are small, but tasty. A bit more “tang” than I was thinking they would have. That’s ok. Still beats what is available at my local supermarkets. Bali Tomato

The Bali variety are ultra tasty, with a good amount of meat in them, while still offering plenty of juice. Great with a bit of salt on them, fresh from the bush. Most are small and flat, but there are a few out there that are getting large. They range from orange to pink to red when ripe. The plant likes to climb, and lots of garden twine is being used to support their efforts.

Fruiting and Blossom End Rot

All varieties have started fruiting. The Green Zebra has perfectly round, well-striped fruit and is doing well. The other varieties are more pumpkin shaped with lots of ribs.

The Black From Tula seems to be having a problem with Blossom End Rot (BER), although it is in the same Earthbox as the Zebra, so it must just be more susceptible to that kind of thing.

All of the plants are getting very big, and have required tying up to both the cage and external sources. That was to be expected from indeterminates.

The suspected mite problem is now gone after a few days of spritzing with soapy water.

Current temperatures are mid nineties.

Earth Day Brings the First Flower

Bali Tomato FloweringHappy to report that the Bali is starting to flower, as is the Black From Tula. All plants are getting thick stems and dark green, with lots of new leaves every day.

I did have a small burst of activity from some aphids, but a bit of dish soap and water in a squirt bottle cured that right up.

This photo was shot with my Olympus in Macro Mode.

Into the Earthbox – Transplanting

Well, it went from being a bit nippy at night to being nice. Of course there was no in between. There never is in Phoenix. I also slacked off on hardening off the plants, never getting them outside again until just now.

As planned, I put one of each variety in the Earthbox for a total of four varieties, 2 Earthboxes. I have backups of each out in the sun now. I definitely may need them. The Bali was small and weak – not sure it is going to make the transplant. The Golden Monarch was a bit better, but we’ll see. The Tula is strong, vibrant and seemed to like the transplant very much. The Green Zebra looks like it will fare pretty well.

About 10 days ago, I took a Monarch and a Tula to my Dad – as he likes to try things in the ground. Neither survived as he moved them around trying to harden them off. They were just too weak and fragile.


Adding Lime to the Earthbox

Adding Lime to the Earthbox

For the details on the Earthbox preparation it was pretty easy. I dug in and loosened all the potting mix that was in there until it was light and fluffy.

I mixed in a bit of hydrated lime, since tomatoes are going in.

Slow Release Fertilizer in Earthbox

Slow Release Fertilizer in Earthbox

Then it was topped off with a bit of Miracle-Gro Potting Mix to mound the center. On the other side of the mound from the planting locales I added a strip of pellet style, slow-release fertilizer as per Earthbox recommendations. Neither the Miracle-Gro nor fertilizer are organic this go around. I’ll try that next year I think.

I then cut open a white kitchen trash bag and tied it over the container, to keep weeds out and moisture in. Holes had to be cut to get over the stakes and watering pipe.  Easy enough. Tying it with some sisal gardening twine, I began to realize that the couple of dollars Earthbox wants for the elastic covers is probably worth it – and I will definitely order some for fall planting.

Cutting a couple of “X” slits into the corners away from the fertilizer and dropping the peat pots in was the last step. Wait, not the last step. Watering them in from the top and then filling the reservoir was the last step. Now I wait.

Update: It has been 24 hours and all transplants seem to be adapting to the boxes well, but of course clouds and cold have snuck in.  I brought the other seedlings back in.

Seed Arrival

Baker Creek Seed PacketsWell, here they are. Pretty timely, I’d say. They arrived from Baker Creek Seeds in Missouri via USPS yesterday, in a plain manila envelope. Enclosed were the packets, a typewritten note apologizing for any delays (there weren’t any) and a receipt signed by hand. Nice touch.

Notice the Free Bonus seeds! Shisito peppers…a Japanese pepper low in heat, from what I can find on the net.

Time to head out to the home store for some good dirt to start them in.