|HOW DO THEY GROW?
The plants are grown in a composted media, from a local nursery thus economically and environmentally friendly. After the bags have been used for tomato production, the soil is incorporated into the field soil to provide rich organic matter for the plants grown the following year.
The bags sit on a gutter that collects the drain water, and it is re-circulated, therefor preventing leaching of nitrates into the land. Each plant is fed water and nutrients via a feed tube. A computerized timer is set to give the plants water based on solar light. For example, plants get less water on cloudy days than sunny days.
String is hung from crop wires which support the plants. The plants are either wound around the string, or clipped to the string weekly. Other weekly tasks include putting supports on the truss stem, to keep the tomatoes from falling off when they get big; pruning the plant of excess leaves, and tomatoes (too many tomatoes reduces the fruit size); And finally, each week plants must be leaned and lowered. Amazingly, the plants will grow up to the support wire, and need to be lowered. When the crop is complete in late summer, plant length can reach up to 20 feet!
In the outdoor environment, tomatoes are pollinated by wind and/or bees. Plants grown in the greenhouse are not exposed to these pollinators, so bumblebees are brought in to do the pollinating. Bumblebees are ideal for pollinating because they are not as aggressive as honey bees, so they won't go after other forms of pollen outside the greenhouse.
Since bumblebees are used, biological control of insect pests is very critical. The crop is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, and insect pests are controlled with various predatory insects like ladybugs!
String for plants
Cluster with support
Bumblebee pollinating a flower