It’s a bit late, but I got my tomatoes planted today. I can already taste their deliciousness – in my mind. When I was a child I hated all vegetables … except tomatoes. While my family enjoyed salads made with iceberg lettuce – “real lettuce,” as my father once said, and please note, my father was a wholesale buyer in the produce industry for about what, 60 years? – I ate tomatoes. And as was our family tradition, whether it was lettuce and tomatoes or just tomatoes, the whole thing was slathered in Kraft orange-colored salad dressing. I’ve always wondered how they made it that color. What is that color? (Must stop wandering.)
So here I am, I love to garden, but my yard is shaded by big oak and avocado trees. Still there is one little space that I carved out of the backyard to plant tomatoes. For most of the year, at least until late spring, this space only gets a few hours of direct sun. I grow spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, sugar snap peas, and herbs through winter and early spring. Now the sun peeks over the house and offers some rays to the bed, so it is time to remove the peas and put in tomatoes.
My messy garden produces delicious sugar snap peas, chives, mizuna (yellow flowers to right), parsley, blueberries (pots on left), strawberries, mint (pot front center), and other herbs. February 19, 2012
Removed the sugar snaps. A vegetable garden wizard told me not to cultivate the bed, just cut peas and plant. I will add mulch later. The grape tomatoes in the 6-pack have been waiting too long. They are leggy and blooming.
Another garden wizard who saw the pathetic-looking tomato plants suggested that I cut the flowers so they can use their energy to bulk up.
Planted: Moby Grape (6-pk), Sweet Million tomato (4 in.), San Marzano (4 in.). There are also two Delicious tomatoes in the far back that I planted last August. I think this may be a viable way to get a jump on the tomato season.
Here’s what one of the Moby Grape tomatoes from the 6-pk looks like after cutting off flowers and lower leaves, planted deep.
On to the irrigation. We will be traveling a lot this summer so best to get the automated drip set up now. I always forget the order of the parts: anti-syphone then pressure regulator….
One-half inch poly tubing with spaghetti tubes and drip emitters – all in a mess. Took a while to get it untangled but at least I didn’t have to punch new holes and insert plastic parts.
Drip emitters set to water the tomatoes and the pots of herbs around them. I will cover the whole thing with mulch after I check out the water distribution for a few days.
Stakes will be used to support tomatoes as they grow. Not sure how I will do this but I am sick of using those flimsy tomato cages. Will install the timer after the drip system is thoroughly tested.
I can taste those delicious tomatoes already. YUM!