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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Time to Plant Your Tomatoes

I have three plants in the ground now and 10 more varieties growing in cups. I planted a determinate plant this year and two other indeterminate heirlooms. One variety is 'Whopper' and the other is 'Arkansas Traveler'. The first is as it sounds a large tomato and the second is heat tolerant prolific producer. I grew several varieties of Russian heirlooms over the years but found the Maryland heat beat them up.

It's time to get the tomatoes in over the next 2 weeks. Below is a cut from a Knol I wrote on planting tomatoes. You can read the whole article at this link.

How to Plant a Tomato an Tend to Its Needs

Digging and Preparing the Hole:

Dig the Hole
I am assuming you have a garden. If you don't, you will need to dig and turn-over at least a 2 foot by 2 foot plot. I am also assuming you know a tomato needs at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.

In your garden, dig a circular hole that is 1 1/2 to 2 feet wide and 18 inches deep. Put the dirt to the side.

In the bottom of the hole sprinkle 3 rounded tablespoons of fertilizer evenly over the bottom of the hole. You don't need be exact. Use your shovel to mix the fertilizer about another 4-6 inches deeper into the hole. That is, break up the bottom of the hole another 4-6 inches and mix the fertilizer into the loosened dirt. Do NOT remove the dirt.

Fill 1/2 the Hole
Fill half the hole with the garden soil you purchased. You will be filling in about 9 inches of the hole. Sprinkle 2 rounded tablespoons of fertilizer evenly over the hole. Using your hand evenly mix the fertilizer into the 9 inches of new garden soil. Do not mix it into the bottom level where you put the other tablespoons of fertilizer. Drop in about 2-3 shovels worth of the original dirt you put to the side and mix it evenly with the purchased garden soil. Yep, just blend it together.

You have now provided your tomato with ample growing room for its deeper roots. The purchased garden soil will ensure the soil has the right PH for growing tomatoes. There is no need for soil testing. The moisture control formulation with help prevent blossom end-rot then can occur from uneven watering.

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