I didn’t plant tomatoes. They were planting across the road.
Here is the view this morning. It’s a big operation involving lots of people.
Each tomato planting machine is pulled by a tractor. There were four in this field today.
There are six people sitting in the machine. Two other people were following. One of those moved the trays of seedlings, keeping up with the planters. The other seemed to be filling in spots where a tomato wasn’t planted. There is the tractor driver too. That is 9 people for each of these machines.
Zoomed in view under the canopy.
I was amazed at how smoothly the beds were prepared a few days ago in preparation for this. Three beds are planted at a time, each with two rows of tomato plants.
I took Ginny for a walk in the evening after everyone had left for the day. The job was not finished. I was surprised to see how much more there is to go. I continue to marvel at the amount of people and equipment involved here. I’m sure that this tractor will pull the ditcher around the field as soon as the planting is finished.
These are the crates that hold the tomato seedlings.
These are stacks of the empty trays. I think I count 28 spaces in a row. These trays are square so that would be 784 seedlings in each tray.
This is a view of the field looking south to Mt. Diablo, just visible in the haze. Last year I took a photo from this same spot weekly and intended to have a post that followed the sunflower field from start to finish. I still have those photos but never had time to do that. I’ll try to continue with the tomatoes.
There were two portable “comfort stations”. I just made that up–I don’t know what they are called. They have seating under a shade and toilets.
I’m not sure if these tanks supply water or fertilizer to the tractors pulling the planting machinery. About a week ago another machine was pulled through that I though injected something as they made the beds–maybe that was fertilizer. I think the seedlings are getting water now to keep them going until the whole job is finished and they can irrigate.
Here is what the planter looks like. There are six chairs facing back.
It’s really hard to describe how this works. I don’t understand it without having seen it in action close up. The seedling is put into that v-shaped thing in the middle. It is on a rotating disc and it gets put in the soil. Every pair of seats had one disc with three of the v-shaped slots and one with two. That means that the two rows of tomatoes in each bed are offset to give the plants more room.
This is the view from sitting in the seat next to this disc. I just found this video to show how one works. It’s not quite the same, but the same function.
More infrastructure. There was a forklift to move the crates around.
The front view of the tractor with the tanks that I assume hold water. This part of the field is already planted so I think they just took it off the dirt road to park or maybe they needed to go back over this part for some reason.
This shows the beds behind the tractor planted and beds in the foreground not planted yet.
Even more equipment. The disc had gone around the edge of the field followed by the grader to smooth it out. They are parked on the dirt road in this photo.
View to the north.
Another view. That’s a lot of tomato plants. There are a lot more to plant. I don’t know if they will finish tomorrow. I’m sure they are under pressure to get those seedlings in the ground since those crates were delivered yesterday. At least it’s not very hot right now.
I hope I didn’t bore you with all these photos, but I’m fascinated by this.
I am fascinated by this too! I love seeing processes of all type. Once I visited a sugar cane refinery in Louisiana; another time a cigarette factory in North Carolina (I dont smoke). But California tomatoes are part of my heritage. One day a huge tomato truck overturned right in front of me in an underpass in Sacramento. No injuries, but the sight of all those tomatoes rolling out and down the road is unforgettable!
Tomato season is just ending in Florida. Its time to pull out the spent plants.
I look forward to seeing tomato season develop.
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