T2 — TOMATO PART 2: Planting a few ideas

26 05 2013
tomato2

Less than 10 days from our last frost, and my tomatoes are growing. This picture is from May 25th in Central PA.

 

Did you ever have one of those days where you had only three things to buy at the grocery store? One thing led to another, and you ended up with two carts full of groceries, and a case of beer. Not a problem … until you discovered you completely forgot about the original three items on your list.

(Well, you remembered beer, so things aren’t that bad.[ Coming soon: why beer is good for your garden] ) But you get the idea.

The Tuh-MAY-der post Part 1 was kind of like that. There were so many things to say, that I missed a few tiny details. Such as planting.

 

What do you mean Dave? You said to plant them. Like, put them in the ground. Duh.

 

Well, sometimes how you do something is just as important as knowing that you need to do it.

 

The woman in your life asks you “Do these pants make my ass look fat?” Knowing how to answer the question is even more important than knowing that you need to answer in the first place.

 

Anyway, here are a few things to remember when planting tomatoes.

flasher1

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. No trenchcoat needed for this trench
    Don’t dig a round hole. Make it more like a long trench
  2. Deeper, baby! Deeper!
    Dig the hole for the tomato deeper than you intend to plant it. This helps lighten the soil and aerate it. The roots don’t have to work as hard to get to nutrients and water

    manuremartini

    A manure martini? None for me, thanks, but the plants would love to have one.

  3. You’re full of manure… with a twist of lime

    What’s that supposed to mean? Have you been drinking?
    My sobriety has nothing to do with this…. I love you, man….Woooooo!!!
    No, what this means is you should be adding compost to the soil mix in this hole
    I may use composted manure, among other types. As for lime. Add it to the soil for calcium. Calcium deficiencies can cause blossom end rot. Don’t lose your crop to something easily prevented.

  4. sideways2c

    Tomato planting- Illustrated

    This entire situation has gone sideways
    And so should your tomato. Remember the trench? Your tomato plant should be planted at an angle in this trench, closer to horizontal than vertical. Plant the stem up to the lowest leaves. (Don’t plant any leaves. The lowest on the plant can even be removed if there are sufficient healthy leaves remaining.) The stem will grow roots and add to the root system. The soil surrounding the root system will warm up sooner and grow faster

  5. How about a drink?
    For the plant, that is. Give it a decent watering after planting. Do not compress the soil when you water. You don’t want to cancel out the soil aeration from earlier.

 

With your feet planted firmly on the ground, and your tomatoes planted firmly in the soil, you can eat some Planters nuts then  go over to that special someone and plant a big wet kiss. Let me know if this planted some ideas.

Oh, and if you want to know what my favorite answer to the dreaded “Do these pants make my ass look fat” question, leave a comment on this post, and I will send the answer to you privately.

 

I hope that you enjoyed Part 2. Stay tuned for Part 3

 

 

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Toe-MAY-toe, toe-MAH-toe, tuh-MAY-der… just shut up and pass the ketchup

18 05 2013

Let me sing praises to the tomato, that most wonderful fruit.
I mean, that most delicious veggie.
I mean… Ms Tomato, I hate to sound indelicate, but are you a fruit or are you a vegetable?

Ms Tomato pauses, then answers in two simple words. “It depends.”
What exactly does that mean?
Apparently, the answer to whether a tomato is fruit or vegetable depends on whether you are in botany class or in law school.

The botanists out there know that a tomato is the sexual organ of the plant, the ovary containing the seeds – definition of a fruit.

Off topic– Thinking about the movie site Rotten Tomatoes…
What would Hannibal Lecter have to say?
“Ms Tomato, I would like to eat your ovaries with some fava beans and a nice Chianti… FFFFF”

How about a fresh tomato, Clarice…

As for the lawyers, they know that the supreme court decided the issue in 1883. The case of Nix v Hedden was over that taxation of tomatoes. Vegetables were taxed by the Tariff Act of 1883; fruit was not. The court unanimously decided that it didn’t matter what the dictionary said. Everybody thought tomatoes were vegetables anyway, so they should be taxed.

Now that we solved that, it’s time for planting!

Next big question: start them from seed or buy the plants? There are benefits to both. Buying the plants is fast and easy. Starting from seed, on the other hand, is a lot cheaper and gives you a better variety.

Starting seeds indoors? Give them light… lots of light. (SEE Grow lights in the Basement) Keep the plants from drying out, but don’t over-water. For indoor seedlings, it’s good to get wet, but too much of a good thing can be fatal.

(Growing tip- periodically have a fan lightly blow on the plants. It will dry out the soil a little and will strengthen the stems.)

Seeds should to be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before last frost, and transplanted after the last frost date. I ignore that advice and plant mine 12 weeks before last frost, setting them out when the forecast looks like frost is going to be rare.

You have to keep the plants from freezing. Think how long you would last if somebody froze your limbs every night. It almost destroyed Schwarzenegger’s movie career. Have you ever seen Batman and Robin? Arnold played Mr Freeze, one of his most cringe-worthy performances ever.

Image

This Ahnold killz plants. Hasta la vista baby!

Last week’s casualty of the big frost

Anyway, protect your tomatoes from Mister Freeze. One gallon water jugs work as a heat sink to keep the plants a little warmer at night. Place three around the plant. The sun will warm them up in the day. They will give off the warmth at night. Be sure to cover the tomatoes with garden fabric or mini hoop house when there is a threat of frost.

I hope PART 1 was as much fun for you as it was for me.
PART 2 is coming soon.