Having just returned from a short but steamy trip to Florida, I appreciate our cooler and definitely drier June weather all the more.
Still, summer in Southern California can be very hot and is not the time of year to do heavy gardening. In fact it is the time of year to take trips, or stay home and relax with a refreshing mojito. Alas, the tomatoes I planted in large black plastic nursery pots – got to get me some of those beautiful wine barrels – need frequent checking and frequent watering. One hot day can spell the end.
To solve this problem I set up a simple drip system on a timer. The system includes an Orbit timer, pressure regulator, and a backflow preventer, spaghetti tubing, drip emitters and small stakes to hold them in place. End of story! (For more information, check out basic components on Drip Store website.)
In addition to the drip system, I place the pots on bricks to reduce the damage done by slugs that prefer to live between the moist soil and the pot.
Potted tomatoes also need to be fertilized regularly since they are drawing from a limited volume of soil and nutrients wash out of the pot with irrigation. And finally, the tomatoes need to be staked. I have always been terrible at this and envious of gardeners whose mature vegetable gardens aren’t a mess like mine. Maybe this year I will prune better to keep the plants in place. Regardless, the tomatoes are coming along just fine and just one bite into the sun-warmed Sweet 100s cherry tomatoes reminded me why I go to the effort. Nothing beats it!