I invested in tomato futures this week end. Ellen and I rode our bikes to Saturday Market and I returned with the panniers filled with a dozen tomato plants. There are so many varieties of tomatoes that I’m always sure to find something new and different. This year I returned with Pineapple, Brandywine, Isis Candy, Black Plum, and Tula, as well as more familiar Early Girls and Better Boys. I’ve still got a few more spots, but I’m hedging just in case we get another week of cold weather.
I prepared the tomato spot last weekend. Tomatoes like to be deep rooted and will thrive on compost. Each hill received three nice shovels full of compost in a hole dug a “shovel length” deep with soil loosened even deeper. There are lots of methods for trellising tomatoes. We happen to have a nice bamboo patch in our back yard that always needs thinning. Hence, I use a lot of bamboo for garden architecture. I set two crossed poles for each plant and then tie the row together with a horizontal pole at the cross point. The key to structural stability is a diagonal pole to make the whole structure rigid. All the cross points are tied with twine. This works pretty well, and can carry a nice load of tomatoes by the time fall rolls around.
So with the preparations already done, the plants went in the ground – up to their necks! Tomatoes will develop roots all along the stem and the deep roots will see more consistent moisture and be able to get at all of the compost I put in the bottom of the hole. The main reason for buying older plants is so you can bury them deeper!
The parsnips I seeded a few weeks ago are just starting to germinate and so are the carrots.
Next week it’s going to be time to till in my crimson clover cover crop where the peppers and eggplants will go. I hate to do it be cause the blossoms are so pretty and the bees are enjoying them. But it has to happen soon.
What zone are you guys?
Zone 8 here in Eugene. General climate characteristics are an erratic cool spring with the potential for extended periods of cool rain. Then a dry summer, often with very little rainfall from the middle of June through to October. November sees the rain return in earnest. Winters are usually without appreciable snow. Temperatures below 15F are rare, and represent a hard freeze in our region. The long dry summer and fall make the region one of the best seed-growing regions, especially for brassicas (and grass seed).
Gary- Great minds think alike! As my blog reveals, I did the same thing last weekend. I am trying Black Plum for the first time too. It will be interesting to compare notes on it. You are also ahead of me in planting. It’s a good gardener that plants the same weekend that they shop :)
75f the rest of the week as the worm turns. Pineapple is currently our favorite slicer; I hope you like one of those newbies even better so we can go there. Did you use scallions for your soil trials or what?
I’m hoping the warm weather will start my squash sprouting. So far nothing is up. My trial pots are still sitting with last years’s spinach in them… I’m thinking about carrots, because as you pointed out – vertical habit is good. If the symps are still in there – the carrot roots will care more than the onions.
Hi, Gary –
You’ve got tomatoes in already?? I’m envious – I’m just an hour North in Sweet Home, and except for two 70deg. days earlier in the month, it’s been cold, rainy and the only plants that are happy are my peas, kale, broccoli and lettuce. I have more than a dozen tomato & pepper and a couple eggplant in the greenhouse (a plastic-covered shed that is not exactly warm at night), but it looks like another week of rain and cool until Memorial Day… bummer summer coming up??
Nice blog. I’ve added it to my bookmarks.
It’s been pretty cold and rainy here too. In spite of the weather, the tomatoes seem to be doing fine. If I had a greenhouse – that’s where my peppers and eggplants would be too, but instead I planted a few plants that I picked up at the market in the garden last weekend – here’s hope’n. Come on sun!!
Your garden seems to be off to an incredible start for the spring we’ve been having! We finally got all of our tomatoes in last weekend, but the cucurbits are still in the greenhouse for another week or so before we plant them out. We’re doing our first cucumber, zucchini, and watermelon seed this year!
If you still have those extra open tomato spots, we have about 100 extra plants of various colors and types available for experimental gardeners. They’ll probably last another week in the 4″ pots before they go to the compost pile.
If you want them, it will be a good excuse for you and Ellen to come over for dinner and to see how the place has evolved since November. Of course you can come over even if you don’t want the tomatoes!
Yes this wet weather is getting a little depressing. I’ve already planted squash outside by seed twice now – and might have to do it again! There are a few struggling seedlings – but they are getting beaten down by the soggy weather. The tomato spots are all filled in – and they seem not to mind the wet. Peppers are another story :( and I haven’t even attempted to put corn in yet.
I do want to see what you are up to. We’ll have to figure out a time.