Lynn Greyling

by Lynn Greyling
(Pretoria, Gauteng, SA)

Hi, We've had a Tree tomato in the garden for many years. My second one died 2 yeas ago . I decided to propagate my own by placing washed seeds in a clear plastic tray ( like the one's the mince at Spar is sold in), on a moistened paper towel, covered them with the same, sprayed them with water and placed a lid, another clear plastic tray, on. I kept them in the house in the warmest room because I started this process at the beginning of winter, and kept them moist with a spray bottle. Definitely took +4 weeks to germinate. In spring I planted them in seed trays, and as they grew stronger, transferred them to 1 liter yoghurt containers. I had about 30 plants. Gave most to friends and kept 7. They got replanted into bigger containers and pots. This spring I planted them in the garden in semi - shade for frost protection. I'll have to see if they are going to get enough sun. Planting them in the open is risky in Pretoria, as they suffer badly from frost.
I would like to know what type of root system they have and whether they loose leaves in winter, i.o.w. are they deciduous? Because the frost has always killed most of the leaves in the past I couldn't observe whether they are evergreen or not.
Thanks for the info and looking forward to hearing from you.
Lynn Greyling.
PS. Do you have a Facebook account?

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Sep 19, 2020
Tamarillo questions
by: Caroline

Hi Lynn, thanks for your question. Pretoria was where I went to high school and first started gardening, very unsuccessfully I might add. I know that weather quite well and it can freeze badly !

Down at the Cape my tamarillos are evergreen, but they do have a growing season and a 'tatty' season, which is generally in the driest part of summer. In winter they burst forth with new growth. This makes me think they are more responsive to rainfall or irrigation than anything else to determine when they put on a growth spurt.

Indeed wikipedia says they dry out so easily because they have shallow roots. I don't know about yours but mine grew very large in their containers (milk sachets) before being planted out. They may be a good pot plant, but about 90% of mine died when they became root bound.

Thank you for telling me that they die back with frost and then come again. That is pretty interesting information, as I've never experienced that as we don't get frost here. They originate, I think in Peru,in the Andes. Do you think their geographical origin can account for this ?

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