Friday, May 13, 2011

Planting Tomatoes

So, yesterday I talked about hardening your seedlings off.  Today, I want to tell you how I plant sensitive plants like tomatoes, just in case you are planning a gardening weekend.

Once your plants are hardened off, dig a hole deep enough that you will bury the roots of your tomato plant and most of its stem; tomatoes will grow additional roots along the stem that you bury.  Don't do this with other plants, because they don't do the same thing.  Make the hole about twice as wide as it is deep.

Take the dirt you removed and put it aside; it is a nice addition to the potato patch to hill the potatoes.  Instead, fill the hole with sifted finished compost (humus) and top dress the soil around the plant as well.  The compost provides nutrients, helps the health of the soil, and also provides a bit of protection against diseases and noxious bugs.  The top dressing will allow nutrients to sink into the soil with each rain.

The Analysis

Fast:  It takes a little extra time to sift the compost (ain't it purty?), but it is worth the effort.

Cheap:  My 83 cent tomato plants stay 83 cents, since I have added no chemical fertilizers or commercial soil

Good:  Now, it is just a 70 day count down until tomato juice, salsa, sauce, and yummy sliced tomatoes.
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  1. This year I am trying one of those topsy turvy planters for tomatoes. Any advice on how to make these work? I understand they can be tricky, but I am hopeful.

  2. Definitely keep it well-watered, and if you can, hang it in a sunny place. I have known others who hung them in trees, and I think the shade impacted the blossom set.

    Also, if it doesn't come with its recommended tomato plant, get plants that are designed to grow in pots, like cherry tomatoes or paste-style tomatoes. The big slicers just need too much room for roots, in my opinion.