The Great 4-H Tomato and Seed Giveaway
The 4-H Sustainable Club has been enjoying a healthy harvest variety of tomatoes since early July – now there are plenty to share. On Saturday, August 30, the 4-H club will be giving enough tomatoes to make a salad and tomatoes seeds at the 4-H garden in Toledo from 1pm-3pm.
During those hours, the public is welcome pick up tomatoes, tomatoes for seeds, and view the new features of the garden. The seed packets given away will be in the form of a ripe tomato. To harvest the seeds from a tomato, chop or mash the tomato into a jar and fill the jar with water. Remember to shake the jar from time to time and allow the tomato to decompose for 1-6 days. Once the seeds sink to the bottom of the jar, rinse the seeds clean and allow them to dry.
The decomposition of the tomato discourages transmission of diseases to the seed, while drying the seed promotes better germination and makes it easier to separate.
The tomato seeds available are for Stupice tomatoes, pronounced “stoo-pee-chay.” This tomato is an indeterminate heirloom and cold-tolerant tomato plant which makes it ideal for the Oregon coast; this is why the 4-H club has tomatoes in early July.
These indeterminate tomato plants bloom, set new fruit, and ripen fruit simultaneously throughout the growing season. These hearty plants produce sweet, red fruit that are slightly oval and about 2 inches in diameter. These scrumptious tomatoes make the perfect addition to salads, excellent juices, and make a great snack.
New Things to See at the 4-H Garden
1. Eight solar heating, automatic watering, self-wicking cloches are being built in the garden. They should extend the 4-H growing season by two months, maybe more!
2. Two Hugelkulturs are in the process of being built. Hugelkulturs are simply raised garden beds filled with rotten wood. This loads the beds with organic material, nutrients, and air pockets for the roots of the plants. As the years pass, the deep soil becomes incredibly rich and loaded with soil life. As the wood shrinks, it makes more air pockets creating which create a sort of self-tilling process. During the first few years, the composting process will somewhat warm the soil, giving it a slightly longer growing season. The woody matter helps to keep nutrient excess from passing into the ground water. It prevents re-feeding them to garden plants later.
3. Our aquaponics system is also nearly completed. The aquaponics system consists of two hydroponic pools, tilapia fish, and solar power. The two hydroponic pools will hold more than 1,400 gallons of water which will be heated by sucking the hot air from the top of the greenhouse and passing it under the pools. Lettuce will be grown on floating rafts in these pools.
The tilapia fish were chosen in part due to rapid growth-rate and popularity. A two ounce tilapia fingerling can reach 3⁄4 of a pound by the end of a summer growing season. In the spirit of sustainability, the 4-H club will turn the waste produced by the fish into fertilizer for the garden.
The 4-H Sustainable Living Club garden is located near the Toledo Library and south of the town’s skate park. Since parking at the garden is very limited, please park in the Toledo Library parking lot and walk across the street to the garden.
The 4-H Sustainable Club’s garden is being funded in part by a grant from the Oregon State University Youth Advocates for Health as known as YA4-H! This program was launched to produce future projects to support local organizations that create youth development in the community and partnership with supportive adults in limited resource communities. The focus is not only on producing food, but also focuses on developing and implementing a micro-enterprise venture to market the produce grown.
Upcoming TomatoBarrel Building Workshop
Be sure to sign up for the next Free TomatoBarrel building Workshop scheduled Sunday, September 14. Time and location to be determined. For more information, contact 4-H Sustainable Living Club Leaders Carl and Coralee Palmer at email@example.com