Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Planting Tomatoes

I think I have a problem . . .  I am addicted to tomato plants.  I planned for only 6 tomato plants this year but left the garden center with 8 and it was difficult not to get more.  It took me a good half hour if not more debating between varieties and then picking the perfect plant for each variety. 

I ended up with Black Krim, Arkansas Traveler, Brandywine, Jubilee, San Marzano, Pineapple, Sweet 100, and Yellow Plum.  Some of the ones that I wanted but decided to try next year are: Amish Paste, Old German, and Mortgage Lifter.  I had a hard time deciding between Cherokee Purple and Black Krim.  I have had Cherokee Purple before and decided to give Black Krim a try, it's similar but different. 

However I still want to go back and get a variety called Independence Day which only takes 49 days to produce tomatoes which is a good month earlier than any other variety.  Based on the name they promise that you will have tomatoes by your Fourth of July barbecue.  The only problem is that I don't have any room for it and once the other tomatoes come in I won't really want it any more.

When I plant tomatoes I do everythinng in an assembly line fashion.  I space my tomatoes 2 feet apart, some people say they need 3 feet for highest yields, but based on my available space I only give them 2 feet.  First I measure out the spacing and place them in the garden to determine which variety will go where.

Once I know where everything is going I dig all of the holes.  The holes are almost as deep as the plant itself.  I put the plant into the hole to test if the depth is accurate or not.

Then once all the plants are dug I put in a mixture of eggshells, aspirin, bone meal and organic fertilizer.  I read about putting all of these components in to help prevent specific tomato diseases and issues.  Since then I have seen other people who use the same amendments.  This year however I used my food processor to grind up the eggshells and aspirin together.  This worked better than trying to evenly divide the pieces of eggshells.  The powder was easy to measure out into the holes, each plant ended up with the eggshells of about 4 eggs, 2 aspirin tablets, a tablespoon bone meal and fertilizer.  

After those items are in the whole you cover it up with just a bit of dirt and then place the tomato in.  Most of the tomato is buried in the whole because the hairs on the stem and buried branches will become roots which will create a more stable, healthy plant in return yielding more fruit.

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