Monday, May 02, 2011

Planting Tomatoes

Every spring, we plant tomatoes that we can use in the fall for spaghetti sauce, marinara sauce, and things like that....YUM!  I usually try to get the plants into the ground by the first of May, so yesterday, we set to work.  First, my trusty assistant and I picked a good spot and decided how to organize them....

 Then, we got down to business digging holes.

I like to mix lots of good soil into the hole before putting in the plant.  My preference is MiracleGro, but there are lots of other good brands out there.  The organic stuff is okay, too, but the plants won't grow as well.

My lovely helper decided to rearrange the pots while I dug the holes...

When you're ready to put the tomatoes in the holes, you need to pick off the bottom leaves and branches.  I know this seems strange, but here's why:  You know how tomato plants have really "hairy" stems?  Well, if you bury those stems, they will shoot roots out into the soil.  Since tomatoes don't usually have very deep root systems, you need to give them all the help they can get. 

So, you pick off the branches from the bottom two-thirds of the plant, and then you bury the plant up to the point where you stopped taking off the branches. 

You might find a new friend in the process, by the way.  This is an earthworm named Larry. 

I put him into the hole, because earthworms are great for the soil.  Their casings help to make the soil healthier for plants, and the holes that they dig aerate it.

I love to use these tomato cages that I bought from the Burpee company.  They've lasted me 6 years now, and they're still in great condition.  Also, you can attach extenders to them when the plants get too tall for them.

If you can't get those cages, here are the old school round cages from the hardware store.  They work, too, but the plant will eventually outgrow them.

So that's how we do it around here!  Of course, we still need to mulch, but we ran out of that, so it looks like I'm headed back to the store...


Vicky said...

Awww--loved the pictures of you with your assistant! I bet Ella will grow up loving to garden as well.

Kristen said...

It's funny - she really does love to garden!