Tomato Planting

IMG_0500aEverybody will tell you they know the very best way to plant tomatoes. Even me. The most important thing I think is to plant them deep and give them plenty of amendments. Do not confuse amendment with fertilizer also known as manure. There’s no need to burn up your new plants.

That said we did something totally new (to me anyway) and kind of weird. Gene decided to open up a new garden area so we can grow a little corn this year. Since it is getting on pretty far into spring  we were fairly rushed and short on energy for the kind of labor it takes when you don’t own a tractor or a tiller.

We threw up a cattle panel fence with a layer of cardboard under it to help cut down on weeds, put about a foot of shredded tree limb mulch in a three foot swath around the outside edge. A word about the shredded wood. It will attract termites. Termites will eat your entire house. Hopefully this garden patch is far enough away from the house to avoid this problem. This wood mulch should compost down in a couple years and be a weed free area that we can then plant in. It should be a great area for onions, garlic and herbs that the deer don’t like. Of course if the deer are really hungry they will eat even the shredded wood and the herbs.

We don’t till. We build raised beds. We have been waiting on a load of top soil and well rotted manure for six months. Yes. We have given up. So we dug out the walkways and threw the soil into the bed areas. We did a little sifting but not much. This was an old garden area about eight years ago and was totally over run with weeds. Hence the use of intense mulch.

We tarped the midsection to kill weeds. The now raised perimeter beds we covered with cardboard. Yes I know this is not organic. We all do the best we can with what we have. Gene used a spud bar to drive holes through the cardboard and into the soft soil below. I added a handful of Azomite, then dropped the tomato plant through the hole into the soil below. Filled in with my sifted soil and composted manure mix. Used three shovelfuls of soil to mound up around the plant and added a bit more Azomite. The row of tomatoes was then mulched heavily with one year old straw slabs. It was fast and relatively easy.

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I ran across this tomato planting guide earlier today and wow are they ever into serious amendments! Maybe I will try this next year. My tomatoes are in the ground and I ain’t planting any more this year! I will however post some photos later so you can see how they are doing.

This years tomato inventory; 8 Celebrity, 2 Japanese Black Trifele, 6 green zebra, 7 Black Krim.

How is your gardening going this year?

signature, Sarah

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9 Responses to Tomato Planting

  1. Lenny lennn says:

    My gardens starting indoors now but I can’t wait till it gets past the last frost date in Michigan. Where abouts are you located to be in the ground already? I wish I could be! Looks nice keep on trucking!!!
    Lenny lennn

    • S says:

      Hi Lenny. We are located in north central Arkansas, – zone 7 but certainly on the warmest side of that the last couple years. I planted out several things a whole month early this spring with good results. Usually one wouldn’t dare set out tomatoes until well into May. It’s a gamble but the forecast has been so warm! The only reason my peppers aren’t out yet is because they got a little later start and are a bit too small. I don’t want to loose them to cutworms! Thanks for the read, and the comment!


  2. Lenny lennn says:

    That’s awesome I think we’re zone 5 up here. But I’m thinking about taking the gamble as well:)


  3. Helen says:

    Why is using cardboard not organic – or do you mean the tarp?

    • S says:

      Hi Helen. I don’t know all the particulars but some devout organic hounds don’t use cardboard because their might be chemicals in the adhesives and the paper making process. Nothing is a perfect system – the very act of allowing rain water to touch your garden means it is collecting a lot of air pollutants. I guess I was just making a statement about where individuals draw their own line. Personally I love using cardboard on walkways and as a quick throw down for a new bed if you only need a shallow area.

      Thank you for checking in here!

      • Helen says:

        I see what you mean about cardboard not being organic. That means, my compost isn’t entirely organic, either. However, I would personally keep using it, as it is such a useful ‘tool’ in the garden – and a great way to recycle it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey sarah…we got a pallet of dirt today in town. Snowed a few flakes going thru the canyon, 38 degrees. We do have onion sets we will get in the ground as soon as we get the dirt spread in the raised beds. Going to be a smaller garden this yesr. I need a bit of a break.

    • S says:

      I hear that Mom. Just do what gardening you can and enjoy it! You have access to a lot of great produce in your area. IF I lived there it would be pea planting time! Love you Mom.

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