Lillies and Tomatoes

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by DC Brown, May 13, 2015.

  1. DC Brown

    DC Brown Junior Member

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    I have a late sprouted tomato that has survived cold weather (down to 14 C, hail) for some time. All other tomatoes are near death or long gone. This one is green and vibrant. It sprouted in a bunch of lillies.

    Lillies have a mechanism called thermogenesis - they create heat. This occurs in the flowers at night. Some insects like bumblebees harbor in the flowers which close over, and are released the next morning, coated in pollen, to do the lillies bidding.

    I suspect the thermogenesis of the lillies, coupled with the nutrient dense (drain overflow) habitat is providing a nice wee microclimate, and at night, it's enough to make a difference.

    I don't expect the plant to fruit before the cold really gets here, but I'll watch closely. I do think I may have stumbled on nature teaching us a new trick. Next year I'll put a couple of tomatoes in with the lillies and see if they'll extend the fruiting season.
     
  2. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    DC, what kind of lillies? Day lillies or the big white ones, lilium longiflorum or?

    You know, I've seen honeybees get into squash blossoms, sometimes 6 or 8 of them and seem drugged, then the blossom closes over them, and they are still there in the evening. And even though the squash blossom never opens again, I don't find dead bees in there, so I assume they eat their way out. I always wondered what they were doing, and I guess maybe the thermogenesis is it!
     
  3. DC Brown

    DC Brown Junior Member

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    They're Calla lily I believe Zantedeschia aethiopica. The honeybees might navigate the folds of the squash flower perhaps? Otherwise you'd expect a 'bee sized' hole, but maybe ants get in and dissect and take away the dead bees. They're pretty onto it them ants. 8) I don't know that the tomato is assisted by any heat provided by the lilies just a wild guess as to how it has survived there. These lillies are pretty weedy, and a pain to try get rid of, it will be nice if I can utilise them in this context. Next year I'll plant some tomatoes a little late in the lillies and in a bed without them.

    Bumblebees can use their own thermogenesis too. They warm up their flight muscles on cold mornings before takeoff. Honeybees can't do this which at least partially explains the bumblebees tolerance to colder conditions. Honeybees would know where they can find refuge too surely, they're all closely related to them clever ants.
     
  4. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    what kind of climate are you in?
     
  5. DC Brown

    DC Brown Junior Member

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    Hi Pebble, I am in a temperate climate bordering on subtropical. Tomato season is lucky to last 4 months. I think I might extend it to 6 with early and late plantings - tomatoes are my favorite I used to pick them in Australia and eat - tomatoes on toast for breakfast, tomato sandwiches for lunch, and tomato soup for tea. I love it, the locals thought I was a bit touched...
     
  6. DC Brown

    DC Brown Junior Member

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    This tomato is still alive, and now it's flowering. I've taken cutting and have them in the greenhouse, am hoping Plant & Food scientists take an interest and do some work with it. It appears to have a mild strain virus - but those clever clods in the lab will work out if it is significant or a problem.

    Every day I see it I am amazed it is still there, after cutting it to clone I was sure it would suffer, not yet...
     
  7. dWall

    dWall Junior Member

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    I am looking forward to following this conversation! I am in the same climate and breed lilies. Thanks! :]
     
  8. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    DC if you happen to have a digital thermometer you could find out just how big a difference the lilies are making for that microclimate. a Temp reading at 1m distant then a Temp reading at the tomato plant might give you some interesting data.
     

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