947 Centreton Rd (County Rd 22) , RR#2
Ontario Tourism Region : Kawartha and Northumberland
- Monday - Saturday 9am - 5 pm mid April through December 01... SCHOOL TOURS WELCOME
- One kilometre west of the village of Centreton can be seen a large greenhouse on the south side of the road. Inside, the Casteels grow over 9000 tomato plants producing about 300,000 pounds of great tasting tomatoes each year.
- The cycle starts in late December when tomatoes are seeded into rockwool blocks. One month later, the one foot seedlings are transplanted throughout the large greenhouse. They are spaced out on a plastic trough, on a sloped floor.
- At one end, water, containing all the required nutrients, is introduced. It flows through the roots, down the sloped row and into a drain at the opposite end.
- From here it flows back to a storage tank where the water is replenished with oxygen and more nutrients before being pumped back to the plants creating an endless cycle.
- This is a very efficient system in conserving water and nutrients. Since there is no soil in the process, only water, it is called HYDROPONICS.
- Each plant is pruned down to a single stem that is clipped onto a string hanging from a wire 8 feet overhead. About 6 weeks after seeding, the first flower clusters appear. Bumblebees are introduced into the greenhouse to pollinate the tomato flowers.
- The plants continue to grow at about 10' per week. Each week a new flower cluster appears and when you see the 7th' cluster, 7-8 weeks later, you should see the first tomatoes turning red.
- As the plants continue to grow, they approach the wire and run out of room. The solution is to strip the bottom 2-3 feet of leaves off the plant and then move the top of the plant ahead on the wire by about 3 feet.
- This lays the stem on the greenhouse floor and lowers it by 3 feet. By repeating this process, a plant can continue to grow 10-11 months and reach a length of 25 feet or more.
- The tomatoes hang high and dry away from insects, rain and fluctuating temperatures. Insects are controlled without chemicals by employing the use of other insects.
- Whiteflies and aphids are controlled by the use tiny parasitic wasps which lay eggs in the host insect, feeding on them and finally emerge from the host to continue the cycle.
- In the case of thrips and spider mites, predator insects are introduced to feed on and eliminate these bugs.
- Hydroponic tomatoes can't be beat for taste and appearance because their conditions are ideal. One taste and you'll certainly agree.
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Address of this page: http://www.ruralroutes.com/casteels