Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Tomatoes Are In!

And with any luck at all we'll have our first harvest in June!   This is our second attempt to create a summer garden that we can (hopefully) live on.  We did LOTS of off-season research and I placed a special emphasis on tomatoes...because I love them so much.

I'll tell you about the other stuff we've got cooking later.  For now, here are some things I learned in the off-season about tomatoes that plenty of people already knew...
  • Plant your seedlings deep.  Leave just the tippy-tops showing and get those roots wayyy down there.  Tomatoes need deep roots!
  • Create a deep-root watering system.  Using up-ended Crystal Geyser water bottles (the same ones I used for the home-made cloche)  I buried them deep in the ground next to the seedlings, leaving about the top inch of the bottle showing.  Just fill that empty bottle with water and it will deposit the water deep in the soil, forcing the roots to work for it! 
  • How to make a tomato teepee.  I got my directions from a Sunset Magazine Special Edition but here's a great home gardener's blog post with some helpful tips.
  • Pull off those early flowers!
  • Topsy-Turvy Tomato Planter?  You bet!  I got one for a present so we're giving it a shot.  But if you're more DIY then that you make one! 
  • For the most concise rundown on how to grow tomatoes just click here.  If you don't know Margaret Roach's site you should check it out.  She used to be a big-wig at OmniMedia and has spent the past few years building her own little gardening empire.  Even though she's based in upstate NY and on a completely different growing cycle than us I find her info solid and she's available to answer questions, just send her an email.
In another post I'll give a rundown of the 15 varieties of tomatoes we've got in the ground.