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!
7 thoughts on “Summer Vacation”
Ah, thanks for the reminder of why I'm not growing vegetables ;-> I had tomatoes in pots 2 years ago and after a lot of water and fertilizer, I harvested 3 cherry tomatoes. <br /><br />I replaced the plants with succulents the next year.
I've read (ok, seen from the Gardener Guy on tv) that you shouldn't plant once the temperature gets into the upper 90's, which we're scheduled to do out here in the Inland Empire next week. Is that true? Should we be putting off planting until the fall and concentrate on drinking, er, I mean hardscaping?
Hi TM. I would agree with you except for when I pop those little treats into my mouth. Nothing really beats home-grown tomatoes.<br /><br />Turling – I would agree that planting when temps are into the upper 90s is a mistake. In that kind of heat the new plants just cook. If you must plant you might consider putting a shade cloth over them for a week or 2, allowing more sun as they acclimate.
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I think you've come up with the perfect solution that allows you to grow veggies and pots and go on vacation for more than a day or two. I've seen those Orbit hose-end timers but have never used them myself, though I did have to assist someone with setting the watering schedule. They seem pretty easy to use. I hope you enjoy Florida and its mesmerizing summer weather, and be sure to stay
I don't know who these people are with tidy vegetable gardens- even when I do get the cages over the tomatoes on time, the darn things get lifted out of the ground by my Sungold behemoths. Perhaps you can just chalk it up to your incredible green thumb that makes them grow so wild.
Hi James – set up another drip line with a timer for the potted monkeyflowers. Will be away all next week – in Baja – so I'll see how it works.<br /><br />Hey Christine – glad to hear I'm not the only one with messy tomato plants. All that really matters is how they taste!
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