What Is Solanum Pyracanthum: Porcupine Tomato Plant Care And Info?
Solanum pyracanthos (Porcupine tomato) is a species of plant belonging to the nightshade family. It belongs to the same genus as tomatoes, but it differs from them in its shape and size.
The leaves are small and pointed, with a short stem. They have five leaflets, which are arranged in two pairs, like those of a berry. The flowers are white or pinkish purple; they consist of several stamens joined together at their tips by a tube-like structure called an ovary. The fruits are round and brownish red.
How To Grow Solanum Pyracanthos: Porcupine Tomato Plants?
You can grow porcupine tomato plants indoors. You need a sunny location where the temperature will not drop too low. If you want to grow them outdoors, then you must provide some shade. They require moist soil, so make sure that there is plenty of water available. Watering them every other day is enough for good growth.
They do best when grown in full sun and watered once a week during hot weather and twice a month during cold weather. Feed with a high-phosphorous fertilizer when growing them and less during the winter.
They will grow in containers as long as the container has adequate drainage. The soil that they are grown in should be a loose, well-draining potting soil. They prefer warm weather but can take a little frost.
How To Propagate Porcupine Tomato: Seed Germination Process?
The most common way is through Seeds. The seeds can be easily purchased online or from garden centers. You can also save the seeds from store-bought fruit, however, these seeds may not grow true to type.
Sow the seeds in a mixture of half sand and peat moss. Soak them overnight before sowing to improve germination. You can then sow the seeds in small pots or containers made for starting plants. After the tomatoes are well rooted, they can be transplanted outdoors during the summer.
How To Grow Porcupine Tomato: Solanum pyracanthos Care Tips?
Porcupine tomato plants require full sunlight. To grow them in containers, you must provide six or more hours of sunlight. They also need moderate watering and drying in between watering.
They are prone to several types of fungal infections. They also suffer from viruses common to tobacco, such as Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus (TYLCV) and Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV).
You should keep the plants free of disease by using preventive methods. Space the plants far enough apart to allow for good air circulation. During the growing season, you can spray them with a mixture of one teaspoon of liquid fertilizer and one tablespoon of cooking oil in one gallon of water.
Harvesting – When the fruits are firm and ripe, they can be harvested. Avoid picking them when they are still hard as this indicates that they are not yet ripe.
How To Care For Porcupine Tomato: Pests, Diseases And Weed Control?
Common insects that they are prone to are aphids, spider mites, hornworms, thrips and whiteflies. The best way to protect the plants from damage by these pests is to space them properly and provide good air circulation. Aphids can be controlled by spraying a registered insecticide.
These plants are prone to several diseases. They suffer primarily from viruses, such as TYLCV and TSWV. You should also be on the lookout for downy mildew and anthracnose.
Weed carefully since they are shallow-rooted. Mulching can be helpful in keeping down the weeds and conserving water.
Soil Preparation & Planting Information
While this plant is considered tolerant of a wide variety of soil types, it will grow the best in rich, well-drained soil. You should also add compost prior to planting.
They can be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date and then transplanted outside once the soil temperature is at least 60 degrees F. Transplant them a few inches deeper than they were previously growing.
While they do prefer full sun, they can grow in partial shade. If you live in an area that gets extremely hot, plant them a little deeper so that only the top of the plant will be exposed to the sun.
Container Growing Porcupine Tomato: Container Growing Tips
Porcupine tomato plants can be grown in containers that are at least 12 inches across and deep. The size of the container should be proportionate to the size of the plant. As a general rule, the larger the container, the bigger you can make your plant.
The basic potting soil recipe is equal parts soil, perlite and peat moss. You can also use a soilless mix. A soilless mix is a little more sterile, which might be preferable if you are growing in a container.
You should line the bottom of the container with an inch or two of small gravel or perlite to provide drainage. This will help prevent the roots from rotting.
Potting soil for a soilless mix is different than regular potting soil. It is lighter and allows more space for water and air. This type of soil drains better and doesn’t compact as easily as soil.
Make sure the container you choose has at least one hole in the bottom to allow water to drain out. Be careful putting the plant in the container. If the sides are too high or if you put the plant in wrong, it is easy to ruin it. When changing the soil around the plant, be careful not to damage the roots.
Don’t add any fertilizer to the container at first. This will only add nutrients that will quickly be absorbed by the plants. When you add water to the soil, add a little bit of fertilizer to it and mix it in before pouring it in the pot. This will provide the plant with nutrients as it grows.
Porcupine Tomatoes Growing Instructions
Before planting, fill your container with the soil mix and press it down firmly. Then add a layer of small stones or gravel to the bottom of the pot for drainage. The next layer is to add 2-3 inches of perlite. This helps aerate the soil and allows for better drainage. Add your soilless mixture to the top of the container.
Do not compact it, but make it level with the top of the pot.
Before planting, rinse off any additives like fertilizer that may have been on the seed potatoes.
Plant your potatoes with the “eyes” pointed upwards. These are the sprout coming out of the potato and will turn into roots when planted. Make sure they are at least 1-2 inches below the top of the container and add more soil mixture on top to cover them. Add a little more soil every few days to cover the young plants.
Tomatoes need at least 6 hours of full sun a day, so be sure that they will receive this light when planted outside. If they don’t, then plant them in pots and put them in a sunny windowsill or under grow lights.
If you are growing your tomatoes outside, you should mulch around the plants. This helps to keep the weeds down and hold in moisture. It is also helpful to shade the soil and keep it a little cooler.
Tomatoes need a lot of nutrients, so be sure to fertilize regularly (once a week) with a general-purpose fertilizer.
When your tomatoes get bigger, you can add even more mulch around the base of the plant to keep more moisture in the soil and keep the weeds down.
It’s important that you don’t over water your tomato plants. They don’t like “wet feet”. Make sure that the soil is dry before you water again. Every few days gently pull on a lower branch to see if it releases its hold on the soil. If it does, then it’s time to water.
As your tomatoes grow bigger (they should be as large as a softball or volley ball), you can gently tie them to a makeshift trellis (twisted wire or chicken wire nailed between two stakes works well). This is to keep them from breaking under their own weight.
Once the first tomatoes start to turn red, it’s time to start picking them every few days. If you have plants inside, be sure to pick them every couple of days so that they keep growing.
You can also start seedlings (young plants) in the spring and put these outside after the last frost. That way you’ll get an even bigger and earlier crop.
When your last tomato has finally ripened, it’s time to get rid of the plant. This isn’t as hard as it seems. If you’ve been fertilizing and watering the plant all summer long there will be a lot of organic matter built up in the soil (this comes from the rotted mulch under it). This can be dug into the existing garden soil to help enrich it. The mulch that the plant was growing in can be added to other parts of the garden or even used as a top dressing around other plants (mulch conserves moisture and keeps weeds down).
Now that your tomatoes are gone, you may wonder what you’ll do with yourself. Well, your potatoes and garlic cloves should be ready by now as well as many of the perennial herbs. It’s time to start harvesting those too!
If you need more tomato plants, you can always buy some more seed and start them inside. There are also lots of varieties of tomatoes that can’t be grown out-of-doors in your area. These may do better in a container and can be started now.
And if you still haven’t gotten enough of the garden, it’s time to start some annual flowers for color in the spring!
What? You’re not tired of gardening yet?
Good, neither are we!
See everyone next month!
Sue & Allie F.
Selling in Stores
If you’re interested in selling the food that you grow organically, there are several steps you can take to find out the best way to do this.
Call your local health department or the department of agriculture. They should be able to tell you who buys organic produce in your area.
Call your local health food store (there are a number of them in most communities). Ask who they purchase their produce from.
Call grocery stores in your area and ask who they purchase organic produce from.
If you still can’t find any information, try a nearby community. You may have to drive a distance, but if selling what you grow is important to you, it might be worth it.
Selling your produce can be just as much work as growing it.
Sources & references used in this article:
Psyllid ecology and biodiversity in the Pacific Northwest by CI Castillo Carrillo – 2016 – research.libraries.wsu.edu
Weeds of California by WW Robbins – 1951 – books.google.com